Newswire » Local History » Where Does It Come From? (Part 1)

Where Does It Come From? (Part 1)

under the weather

Under The Weather – In olden times when a sailor felt unwell he was sent below decks to recover. The rest and protection from bad weather helped him. Return to health under the decks and “under the weather”

Scot Free – Means to have avoided punishment. In 13th century Scandinavia all households were obliged to pay a municipal tax “scot”. This tax was according to their means and peasants were exempt or “Scot Free”.

As Fit As A Fiddle – This term originated from medieval times. It meant in good condition health wise. The court fiddler danced as they played and scampered among their audience. They were extremely fit as a result.

Basket Case – This is a light hearted way of describing someone a bit mad. It comes from the First World War when soldiers returning shell – shocked were put in mental hospitals. At that time basket weaving was a popular activity in these hospitals hence “basket cases”.

A Nest Egg – In olden times, in the English countryside, it was common practice to put in a porcelain egg in the hens nests to encourage them to lay. Likewise, a small amount of money given as savings was to encourage a person to save and be productive.

Dressed To Kill – This phrase seems to have originated in an American Newspaper – The Cambridge Tribune. An army recruit was asked what he thought of his appearance, as he was wearing a shiny new uniform. Unimpressed, he replied ” I am dressed to kill”.

Forking Out – To pay money. Years ago thieves used the word “fork” for finger. This, “forking out” became slang for handing over money.

IMAGE: under the weather – image credit: Sadistic-Songbird/DeviantArt

Fountain News DigitalThis article was originally published in:
Fountain News Digital – November 2010 (Issue 1)

We are re-publishing all articles from our past newsletter, Fountain News Digital, and you can view all completed newsletters here. There were nine issues published in total between 2010 and 2012.

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