Unfortunately my mind was a bit jumbled and nothing interesting would come. So I decided that I would wander into the kitchen and make something to eat. I have made cheese sandwiches using ALL of the cheese in the house and ALL of the bread. As I did this possibly selfish thing a phrase my mother used to say ‘popped’ into my head. . . . . . .”you will eat me out of house and home”.
At that point I started to wonder about where that phrase and other strange phrases that we all use everyday come from, so I did a bit of research.
Eaten out of house and home
sounds like quite a modern saying but in fact it comes from Shakespeares Henry IV part 2 (1597).
When I looked further into these types of phrases it became apparent that dear old Will Shakespeare is responsible for loads of phrases and sayings we use. He is in fact credited with giving us 135 popular phrases including:
- A dish fit for the gods
- A fools paradise
- A foregone conclusion
- A sorry sight
- All that glitters is not gold
- As dead as a doornail
- Beast with two backs
- Discretion is the better part of valour
- Fair play
- Green eyed monster
- Good riddance
- I have not slept one wink
All of these phrases are very well known and used all he time and sound quite modern so it is amazing to think that they didn’t exist in the English language until Shakespeare wrote them down in the late 16th century. Lots of people say they don’t like Shakespeare and haven’t read any of his work so the fact that we use his ‘words’ very often is quite ironic.
As today is Bank Holiday Monday in the UK, some readers may be recovering from a heavy night of drinking and may be contemplating “a hair of the dog” to aid their recovery. What does this phrase actually mean I wondered? So I tackled some more research.
The fuller version of this phrase i.e. “the hair of the dog that bit me”, gives more of a clue to the source of the name of this supposed hangover cure. That derivation is from the medieaval belief that when someone was bitten by a rabid dog a cure could be made by applying the same dog’s hair to the infected wound. How many people managed to get bitten again when trying to approach the aforesaid dog to acquire the hair to achieve this completely useless remedy isn’t known.
There are loads of other well known phrases we use all the time that have ancient origins, look some up for your self.