Two Old Codgers

How the World strikes us

An idiom is a common phrase which means something different from its literal meaning but can be understood because of its popular use. Because idioms can mean something different from what the words mean it is difficult for someone not very good at speaking the language to use them properly.

Idioms are not the same thing as
slang. Idioms are made of normal words that have a special meaning known to almost everyone. Slang is usually special words, or special meanings of normal words that are known only to a particular group of people.

To know the history of an idiom can be useful and interesting, but is not necessary to be able to use the idiom properly. For example, most native British English speakers know that
"No room to swing a cat" means there
Cat 'o nine tails
was not much space and can use the idiom properly. However, few know this is because 200 years ago sailors were punished by being whipped with a "cat o' nine tails". A big space was cleared on the ship so that the person doing the whipping had room to swing the cat.

here we go I think I am going to bite off more than I can chew in trying to make this blog plain sailing but let's bite the bullet. Because of Corona virus they have locked me in and thrown away the key.
cat out of bag
However, when one door closes another door opens so we will break new ground and I will let the cat out of the bag about the new blog.

I will try not to
talk down to you and will be careful with my language.
Fly off the handle
With some of you I know I will have to mind my Ps and Qs but please don't fly off the handle if I get things wrong. Don't blame Bill for any of this, he has had little to say this time but still waters run deep.

I won't try to tell you about the origins of the strange bits of the English language, I'll leave it you to pass some time by Googling them.
By and large we use idioms all the time. We drop them into our speech and writings at the drop of a hat. Many of the ones I use I heard through the grapevine so I could be accused of stealing someones thunder. Never mind, let's cut to the chase and we'll play it by ear.

By Ear

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