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Thread: I'nt English brill

      
   
  1. #1
    Enlightened Wamp exilesjjb's Avatar
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    I'nt English brill

    Ok guys here is one for all you fans of usless facts, lets see how many sayings we can find the truth of I will start with an easy one

    "not enough room to swing a cat" comes from the practice of whipping crew men ships with the cat'o'nine tails so you had to have enoug room to swing the cat.
    "cold enough to freeze the balls off a brass monkey" again on a ship when the cannon balls where piled up in nice pyramids the where held by a brass ring called the monkey as brass contracted in the cold more that the steel balls they fell off.

    I have a few more but do not want to look completly sad (too late I hear you cry)

  2. #2
    Interesting, I've often wondered about the brass monkeys expression!

    Off the top of my head

    Berk - Derived from the rhyming slang Berkshire Hunt or Berkeley Hunt, meaning 'c u next tuesday'.

    Chew the fat - IIRC this comes from the times when it was considered a sign of wealth to offer your guests meat. After a meal people would sit and talk while savouring the fat from the meal.

    Don't throw the baby out with the bathwater - When bathing was a less than regular occurrence families would all share the same bath water. After the water had been used several times it would become so murky it had to be thrown away, it could be so dirty that (in theory) you wouldn't notice if a child was still in the bath before you did so.

    Love the English language
    Are you saying Grade A, or Grey Day?

  3. #3
    Super Wamp Lost Boy's Avatar
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    "Shake a leg!"
    When the crew of a ship were woken at Call The Hands, the Master-At-Arms would walk through the sailors mess and shout "Shake a leg" and everyone would stick a leg out of the side of their hammock. The legs that weren't hairy belonged to the whore the crew had sneaked on board the night before.

    "Pulling your leg!"
    When hanging became a popular form of executing prisoners a couple of hundred years ago, the condemned person was fitted with a noose and the rope was pulled, lifting them off of the ground where they slowly strangled to death. This was done as a public show, and people laughed and jeered as the person kicked about whilst dying. So, it was decided, to make things a bit more humane, the family of the condemned could come forwards and pull down on the dying persons legs to try and break their neck and make the whole thing a bit quicker.

    When you see a statue of a military leader on a horse, if it has all four hooves on the ground then the rider died of old age. If there's one hoove raised then the rider died of an injury received in battle, but after the battle. If the horse is reared with both front hooves in the air, then the rider died a heroic death in battle.

    By the way, the brass monkey one's not true...;)
    WHERE WERE YOU WHEN I FELL FROM GRACE? FROZEN HEART, AN EMPTY SPACE...

  4. #4
    Enlightened Wamp exilesjjb's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lost Boy View Post
    "

    By the way, the brass monkey one's not true...;)

    Your killin me was one of my fav' going to a dark courner to sulk now :)

  5. #5
    Half ****ed alludes to the 'safety' mechanism on flintlock (full ****ed was ready to fire)

    Beyond the pale (pale as in fence), has origins in early modern Ireland - Dublin was English, everything else wasn't

    & rule of thumb has nothing to do with wifebeating :p


    (that's half c o c k e d)

  6. #6
    Flockwit

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    Brass rings weren't used on ships as the balls would just fall off, they used shot garlands (planks with holes for the shot to sit in) instead. Rings were used to hold shot in static emplacements but the coefficients of expansion of brass and iron are too close together for the ring to shrink to the extent that the shot would fall off it. The phrase has been noted in earlier sources as being "freeze the tail off a brass monkey" implying that the brass would become brittle at low temperatures. What the brass monkey in question actually was is anybody's guess.

    I like "colder than a witch's tit" This one apparently has it's origins in Reformation era witch trials where the suspect was examined for evidence of the "Devil's Mark." The Witches' teat was apparently the spot used to suckle a demonic familiar which would provide magical power in return for sustenance. The suspect would be stripped, shaved and examined by pricking them with a needle for spots which were unusual in appearance or lacking sensitivity i.e. cold. Modern research has also been working to debunk this saying too: http://www.gettingit.com/article/663

    I also like "Hotter than a bathful of lesbians" but that one needs less explanation...

    "Keep your hair on" is pretty obvious. Gentlemen would remove their wigs in order to fight duels. Keeping one's hair on would mean calming down and avoiding the confrontation.

    "Kick the bucket" As well as the common meaning a bucket could refer to a beam used to hang things from including animals for slaughtering. As the animal was killed it's back legs would jerk and "kick the bucket."

    "Wrong end of the stick" possibly comes all the way from Roman times where a stick with a bit of sheep's fleece would be used to wipe your bum. Getting the wrong end and picking up the fleecy bit would mean you ended up with a hand covered in poo.

    "Raining cats and dogs" apparently goes all the way back to the 1600's when a heavy rain would dislodge any detritus which had accumulated in alleyways, including dead animals, and wash it into the street.
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  7. #7
    Enlightened Wamp exilesjjb's Avatar
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    nice Undave you have more usless facts than me.

    I have been told that Humpty Dumpty was in fact a massive cannon placed on a battlement the first time it was fired the recoil pushed it off the battlement.

    keep them coming guys

  8. #8
    Flockwit

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    "Cut them down to size" has it's roots in Elizabethan times when the new Italian style of fencing was introduced to England. The English style of fencing with a rapier used both slashing and thrusting in equal measure but the new style emphasised the thrust above other moves. To maximise the advantage afforded by this new style the length of the swords increased. So many English nobles were falling prey to this new style that the Queen issued an edict imposing a maximum allowable length on weapons and stationed bailifs at the entrances to the city of London with orders to measure any sword brought into the city. If the weapon exceeded the allowed length it would be "cut down to size."
    Awards:
    Top Referrer
    "We can categorically state that we have not released man-eating badgers into the area" - UK military spokesman Major Mike Shearer
    "I think they should all be topless, they're just more fun that way" - Vegascat
    "I once hit a guy in the face with a crap" - NeatPete
    "The doctor put me on a course of placebos," said the lady in the straw hat. "But I don't take them. I'm saving them all up for a mock suicide attempt."
    "Unleash a rancid potpourri of lunacy!" - Games Workshop Website.
    "I used to be Sheogorath but I took an arrow to the knee."

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by exilesjjb View Post
    I have been told that Humpty Dumpty was in fact a massive cannon placed on a battlement the first time it was fired the recoil pushed it off the battlement.
    Alas no - it's was firstly recorded as a siege engine during the siege of Gloucester (1643), and then corrupted to a canon used in the siege of Colchester (1648) - but the source was an academic spoof by Professor David Daube for the The Oxford Magazine (apparently he, his clever mates took turns to write spoof historical research in these mags as a joke)

  10. #10
    Flockwit

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    It didn't stop Colchester claiming it was true on their town website. Then again they also lay claim to "Old King Cole," "twinkle twinkle, little star" and to being the site of Camelot. A veritable Baron Munchausen of a town :lol
    Awards:
    Top Referrer
    "We can categorically state that we have not released man-eating badgers into the area" - UK military spokesman Major Mike Shearer
    "I think they should all be topless, they're just more fun that way" - Vegascat
    "I once hit a guy in the face with a crap" - NeatPete
    "The doctor put me on a course of placebos," said the lady in the straw hat. "But I don't take them. I'm saving them all up for a mock suicide attempt."
    "Unleash a rancid potpourri of lunacy!" - Games Workshop Website.
    "I used to be Sheogorath but I took an arrow to the knee."

 

 
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