Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Q - On the Q.T., Quick as greased lightning, Quick on the draw

Today's idioms are brought to you by the letter "Q." My apologies.  I'm a little behind on commenting on peoples' posts.  I will do my best to get around to your blogs as soon as possible, but I've hit a writing groove, and need to strike while the iron is hot.  Wow,  I'm just full of idioms this week.  Talked with my CP on Skype last night and I kept catching myself using them.  The sad part is that the only funny bone I'm tickling is my own.  <--Oops, I did it again.  And do you know why they call it the "funny bone?"  Because it's humerus - Ba-dum-ching! - well, the humerus bone, actually.

1.  Jenny’s cat climbed up the tree as quick as greased lightning.


Meaning: very fast.

Origin: One of the earliest uses of the phrase “greased lightning” was by an English newspaper, The Boston, Lincoln, Louth & Spalding Herald, on January 1833: “He spoke as quick as ‘greased lightning.’ Lightning is known for its speed. Many people believe that lightning already travels at the speed of light, so greasing the lightning up isn’t going to help it go any faster. But they’re wrong – wrong, I say! (Sorry, I’m getting a little punchy, which makes me silly). Lightning travels substantially slower than the speed of light. That speed varies depending on atmospheric conditions. Thus, the phrase, “grease lightning” was used to indicate turning up that speed a few notches, by greasing it up to move faster – of course, getting the grease onto the lightning is the tricky part, which… yeah, no duh.

2.  Dana doesn’t know about the surprise party, so keep it on the Q.T.

Meaning: quiet; secret.

Origin: an abbreviation. In 1870 there was a popular ballad called “The Talkative Man from Poplar.” In one of the lines the word “quiet” was shortened to “q.t.” Some linguists believe this may have been used in earlier works, but after 1870 “on the q.t.” became a common phrase for “keep it quiet.” Similar: keep it on the down low (D.L.).

3.  She’s quick on the draw in Math, but slow on the uptake in Reading.

Meaning: ready, alert, and quick to respond or react; quick to grasp info.

Origin: In the American West of the mid-1800s many gunslingers prided themselves on how fast they could draw their pistols from their holsters and shoot. The idea of a “quick draw” caught on and was transferred to any kind of fast action, physical or mental, such as responding quickly, answering questions rapidly, or solving problems swiftly. Similar expressions are “quick on the trigger” and quick on the uptake.

Okay, how many of you are singing:  Greased lightnin', go, greased lightnin'...?
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How many of you are singing it now that I asked?

(Or have no idea what I'm talking about b/c you're too young or have been living under a rock?)

I actually did the dance in my chair as I wrote this - yes, my name is Jaycee, and I am a dork.  :D

31 comments:

  1. Goodness, had that song in my head from the title. It's still rattling round in there.

    Darn it, now it's going to tick over in the background while I write. Fortunately, not about lightning.

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  2. I've ALWAYS wanted to know where "on the q.t." came from! Thanks! I've so enjoyed your theme this month!

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  3. Yup, I started singing Greased Lightning as soon as I saw the words lol!

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  4. I have the song in my head right now! LOL

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  5. yes, i tried not to, but it got me!

    so many idioms originate so long ago. i like that DL morphed from QT, but i cant think of many idioms that our generation has originated!

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    1. There really just aren't a lot of recent ones.

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  6. I loved learning where "greased lightning" originated. And, yes, that song will now haunt me all day. Thank you very much. :-)

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  7. These are always good! Liked the QT explanation best.

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  8. *raises hand* Yeah, I totally started hearing "Greased Lightning" in my head.

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  9. haha. I never heard of Q.T. I think we say "keep it on the down low" now. Oh, slang!

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  10. Hahaha!I started singing it too. It's almost as catchy as It's a Small World. Oh no! Now that's in my head.

    ScribblesFromJenn
    Happy A to Z-ing!

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    1. Small world was in my head for an hour, but Grease Lightning stayed alllllll day. :D

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  11. I was singing it as I read the definition! Now I'm singing it again.

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  12. The song popped into my head as soon as I read it. I may be a dork right with you. Knew all of them today and even knew where the last one came from.

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    1. Nice! I didn't know where it came from, but now I do.

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  13. Yes, I thought of Grease. Yes, I am loathe to admit it!

    The guys at the firehouse use Q.T. all the time.
    Heather

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  14. You know the song Grease Lightning is now stuck in my head, right?

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  15. No, I'm not too old. Yes, it's in my head now. Thank you very much.

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  16. Yep! I was singing it from the beginning and going to thank you for letting me have that song in my head probably all day :) The guys dancing around while singing that song keeps flashing in my mind, hilarious!

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