Friday, April 27, 2012

Y - Yellow journalism, Year one, You could have knocked me over with a feather...

Today's idioms are brought to you by the letter "Y" and let me just say, there are almost no origins for Y idioms and I was getting peeved trying to find some.  Yellow bellied?  No one know how yellow came to represent cowardice (although one hypothesizes that it's derived from stomach bile, but could be a derogatory term - no thanks); You can't teach an old dog new tricks?  Well, duh, if you want to train a dog, you have to do it while they're young because they get stubborn as they get older, just like people...and I should know.  Anyway, I spent over two hours trying to find some, and I just didn't. get one origin, one distinction between two similar phrases, and one just silly imagery.  It'll have to do.

1.  Fox News:  Yellow journalism at its finest!

Meaning: Journalism in which sensational stories are used to boost sales, or biased reporting is used to change the reader's views on an issue. Both of these are unethical.

Origin:  Americanism.  The phrase originated in the 1890s to describe the tactics used in competition by William Randolf Hearst's New York Morning Journal, and Joseph Pulitzer's New York World newspapers. It started when one of Pulitzer's cartoonists got famous for his comic strip called "The Yellow Boy". Hearst then secretly hired this cartoonist to draw for his newspaper, causing a furious rivalry between the two newspapers. This rivalry caused so much attention that it sparked the name "yellow journalism".

2.  People have been interested in the stars and the moon since the year one.

Meaning:  a very, very long time.

A distinction:  To say this doesn't necessarily mean the first year, but just when you reference something from a very long time ago.  "The year one" is American English, while the British and Australians tend to say "The Year Dot," as in:  There have been people living in Australia since the year dot, but Europeans have only been there for about two hundred years.

3.  I was so surprised you could have knocked me over with a feather!
Meaning: surprised.

A thought:  How funny is this image?  We know feathers weigh nothing, but the idea is that you're so disoriented and off your game by shocking news, that even a feather could come right up and knock you over is baffling and funny at the same time.  It's like in those cartoons where the feather is the very last thing to land and push something over the edge or knock something over.  Silly. 

Note:  I am so sorry I'm five days behind on commenting, but I plan to get caught up this weekend.  I do appreciate everyone whose been commenting.  Really.  :HUGS:


  1. Yellow bellied because of bile? Gross, ick! Always heard is was because yellow was associated with cowardice and belly or guts was added because a person with guts was courageous. So Yellow bellied was kind of a double insult for someone with no courage.
    -Not sure if it is true, just what I was told. Thank you high school U.S. History class!

  2. Never heard of Yellow Journalism before! Interesting!

  3. "Yellow Journalism" reminds me of a little joke David Cross told about how he had to read the newspapers of other countries to find out what was happening in the U.S. And now I wonder if that means nearly all news outlets in The States are tainted yellow?

  4. I used to teach journalism. Loved the yellow journalism one. That was such a fun unit to teach. :)

  5. I hadn't heard of Yellow Journalism either. Cool! Great Y words.

  6. great stuff! love the feather one!

  7. Some more to add to my collection. I've enjoyed all of these posts.

  8. Never heard the one about yellow journalism.

  9. Hello Jaycee, beautiful space, passing to say hello, nice to read your text.
    if you like the poetry I invite you to my space, thank you.
    happy day.

  10. Hearst was quite a character. Clever, cunning and smart as a whip but certainly someone you wouldn't want to mess with. I remember hearing that about the cartoonist years ago but loved being reminded of it again in your post.

    The best thing about the A-Z challenge for me has been discovering so many wonderful new blogs, like yours, Jaycee! :)