Tuesday, April 24, 2012

V- Vis-a-vis, Vote with your feet, nothing Ventured nothing gained

Today's idioms are brought to you by the letter 'V' (it's starting to suck to find idioms for these - I'm just sayin'.)

1.  Did you get the memo on the new policies vis-a-vis warehouse purchases?

Meaning:  Literal:  face-to-face; Figurative:  In relation to/with regards to.

Origin: This is borrowed from the French language, and literally means face-to-face.  It's been in use since the mid 18th century, is used in both literal and figurative contexts, and the usage of both were established by author and politician Horace Walpole.

In his “Letter to George Montague” (1753):

"He was walking slowly in the beau milieu of Brentford town, without any company, but with a brown lap-dog with long ears, two pointers, two pages, three footmen, and a vis-a-vis following him."
In this case, he was talking about a small, two seater carriage in which passengers sat face to face. It was later meant to apply to any person or thing that was sitting across from one another. Then, Horace changed his own meaning in November 1755 with his ‘Letter to R. Bentley’ to the meaning we have mostly held onto with: 

"What a figure would they make vis-à-vis his manly vivacity and dashing eloquence."
Related: If you frequent square dances, you are likely to find yourself 'vis-à-vis' with your partner. When the dance caller shouts out do-se-do ('do si do') you had better turn around, for what he really means is 'dos-à-dos' - in the original French 'back-to-back'. Dos-à-dos was employed as widely as 'vis-à-vis' in the 19th century, being used as a name for carriages, duelling partners - anything in fact where the participants are back to back.

2.  When the price of concert tickets nearly doubled, music fans voted with their feet and boycotted the event.

Meaning: To show your opinion of something by acting in a certain way, such as by buying something if you like it, or by not buying it if you don't like it.

Origin: Lenin, a Russian Marxist Revolutionist and communist politician, is said to have created the term in  1918 during WWI when he said that Russian soldiers have voted in favor of peace with Germany with their feet, since they were deserting in large numbers from that front line. This phrase was made popular by President Ronald Regan in 1976. 

3.  Go on and ask for that raise.  Nothing ventured, nothing gained!

Meaning: If you don't try to do something, you'll never accomplish it.

Origin:  This old proverb states a commonsense truth:  if you don't make an effort - even though you may be risking failure - you will never reach youg goal.  Nothing risked or dared, nothing attained.  It has been said many different ways in history, though:

" You can't get anywhere unless you're willing to take a risk".Chaucer (c. 1374) and is similar to the late fourteenth century French proverb: Qui onques rien n'enprist riens n'achieva (He who never undertook anything never achieved anything) The proverb was included in John Heyword's collection of proverbs in 1546. First cited in the United States in 'Letters and Papers of Cadwallader Colden,'(1711[-1775]) published by the New York Historical Society in 1917.

Don't forget, the Oh, My Hero! Blog Hop, hosted by myself and Victoria Smith is coming this Friday!  There's still a chance to sign up!

Also, if you take a look at my sidebar-->  you'll see that a new blog all about New Adult Fiction is being launched on May 1st by myself and all my wonderful NA Sisters, whose links are below the snazzy button.  Be on the lookout.  


  1. Love the vote with your feet one! I'm gonna have to use that some day :)

  2. Urgh, I hate the phrase vis-a-vis, it sounds really pretentious lol! Loving the origins, though!

  3. Awesome theme for the challenge. I love learning the origins of popular sayings. :-)

  4. Well, instead of saying vis a vis they could say pate a pate (head to head) ha ha. I enjoyed the post. Best wishes to you. Ruby aka Grammy

  5. I haven't heard any of these ones. I want to vote with my feet... like actually use my feet to vote. May make it a bit more fun, lol.

  6. I'm enjoying learning the origins behind these sayings.

  7. Another great post about sayings and how they came about. Here's my congratulations to you on your new blog!

  8. Nothing ventured, nothing gained is one of my faves.

  9. I'm voting with my feet / my head is on haitus
    ha - fun "V"
    my V

  10. I love living "nothing ventured nothing gained." It's a good way to live.

  11. Voted with their feet. Didn't know that one but makes great sense.
    Thanks for today's lesson!

  12. "Voted with their feet" is a new one for me. :)

  13. v was tough! cant wait to see x and z!

  14. Vis a vis and dos a dos - so funny that's where dosi do comes from in square dancing!