View Full Version : English...or English?
11-26-2001, 01:42 PM
Having just read Strels defen"C"e of red indian, based on his use of non- North American English, I thought I'd toss a few out here and see if we have any trivia scholars among the forum in this area.
Anyone know the origin/meaning behind these phrases?
1 Getting off scot free
2 Slush fund
3 Play fast and loose
4 Put on your thinking cap
5 Botch a job
6 In Hock
7 Take another tack
8 Take someone down a peg
Yeah...I do know them, but it's MY post, so I'll wait a bit and see if we get some good/funny replies! Q
11-26-2001, 07:16 PM
#1- "Scot" was a ransom, or a "protection" payment in the Mafia sense. Also the origin of the English name of the UK region, as its denizens were once notorious raiders.
#7- A nautical term. A sailing vessel can sail upwind only by tacking, i. e., sailing at an angle to the head wind and using the force of the wind from one side to propel it. Since this tends to move the vessel off course to the side, the vessel is laid over on the opposite tack to compensate.
Here's another one for you, Q. Give the origin and meaning of "Posh", as in upscale.
11-26-2001, 09:30 PM
8 Knock a pirate down by hitting his wooden leg?
11-26-2001, 10:25 PM
I'll take a swing at it Strel:
I believe it comes from nautical terminolgy, referring to the "best" sides of the ship to be on... "Port Out Starboard Home"...P.O.S.H>, eventually referred to as "posh" for short....
It may have been a bastardized form of "push", which in slang earlier in the century I believe meant "in style' or somesuch...
Q ....keeper of useless knowledge. :rolleyes:
11-27-2001, 07:49 AM
I know some of these!
"GETTIN OFF SCOT FREE" means to get away with something without paying for it. 'Scot' was the Scottish term for taxes; thus, anyone who did not have to pay taxes was said to get off Scot free
"PLAY FAST AND LOOSE" comes from Shakespeare's "King John". I think it originally meant a type of card trick, but obviously today it means to act recklessly
"PUT YOUR THINKING CAP ON" comes from the days where judges used to wear caps before sentencing convicted criminals; thus, it was coined a "thinking-cap" since many thought this [cap] helped the judges with such decisions
"TO TAKE SOMONE DOWN A PEG" means to undermine someone's honor or self-esteem. I think it comes from the British Navy; lowering self esteem is like lowering a ship's flag, which is done on board by a system of pegs.
11-27-2001, 08:41 AM
This isn't on the list, but..."jerkwater town" comes from the railroad industry during the days of steam locomotives. Periodically the locomotives would have to replenish their supply of water for the steam, which meant that small servicing facilities were often built in the middle of nowhere, at the end of the locomotives' range. A small town would grow up to house the railroad workers and their families. Since the only reason this town was there was so that locomotives could stop and do stuff like pull up to the water tower and have the fireman jerk the chain on the water pump to fill the locomotive's tank with water, the town was a "jerkwater town." Neat, huh?
Lots of common phrases ("on the right track") come from the railroads. The reason second-class seating on airlines is called "coach" is because when the airlines started, passengers were used to buying either a first-class sleeping berth or a second-class coach seat for long train trips.
11-28-2001, 12:34 PM
11-28-2001, 06:14 PM
Bog-standard is a well-known informal term, which originated in Britain; it means something ordinary or basic, but often in a dismissive or derogatory way.
Since we're on a European run... "kit and caboodle" ?
11-28-2001, 06:29 PM
Wrong Q! its origins are in engineering and its original meaning was "British or German specification will be sufficient" or bog standard.
11-28-2001, 06:33 PM
Scot Free--Scot was a term for money in the 13th century, specifically money collected at a tavern to to pay for food, drink and/or entertainment. Later it became a tax that paid the sheriffs expenses. To go "scot free' would mean being exempted from this tax for whatever reason.
Slush Fund--Derived from the Scandanavian words meaning "slops", which described the fat that rose to the top of the kettles when boiling up large pots of pork and such onboard ships. It was stored and sold to candle makers and soapmakers at the end of the voyage, and spent upon the crews comforts.
Take someone down a peg--Yup, came from the habit of raising and lowering a ships flags by pegs...the higher the position, the greater esteem the ship was held in....
Put on your thinking cap--also answered correctly...judges customarily donned caps during the sentencing phase, and were supposed to be reknowned respected thinkers, hence the term grew...
Play fast and loose---came from a game called fast and loose, mid 16th century. Played at local fairs, it consisted of a rolled up strap hanging over the edge of a table. to win, you had to catch the strap with a stick before it was unrolled...never happened...they cheated with the method of rolling.
In hock--also came from a game, specifically "faro", in which the last card to be played was termed the "hockety card". Betting upon that card gave rise to the phrase, and become synonymous with debt/losing/ yucky stuff like that.
Botch a job-- Old English peasant chairmakers were called "bodgers". With the advent of high quality mass production chairs, their products become known as bodge or botch jobs...lower quality goods.
Take another tack...Yup, answered correctly as the zigzag method of sailing into the wind...had to pick the right tack to get into the harbor.
11-28-2001, 06:36 PM
Perhaps so, red, but my answer is also correct. Feel free to reference it and see.... Q
11-28-2001, 07:05 PM
Well if we are talking about the ORIGINS of a saying or expression then I am right and you are wrong Q! but you are right about what the word has come to mean through use over the years, which was not your original question. So.........I WIN!!!!!!!
11-28-2001, 08:01 PM
Who the hell cares!?!? Im in AMERICA!! Mulambo Chegou Pra Detanor Essa Porra!!! :D
11-28-2001, 10:29 PM
Might be willing to call it a draw, especially since I learned a new trivia fact...something I always like to do!
Anyone want to take a swing at "Indian Summer"....which we are currently experiencing here on Long Island. Q
11-28-2001, 11:52 PM
No, but on a related note, care to guess at the origin of the derogatory term "wog" formerly applied by our British cousins to East Indians?
BTW, your answer to POSH was exactly right. Had to do with which side of the ship was on the shady northern side on voyages between England and India.
11-30-2001, 07:24 PM
Got me...I only have Australian "wog" answers in my tiny trivia based mind when I hear that phrase....
12-01-2001, 02:33 AM
Term "wog" originated with 19th Century British soldiers serving in Burma (then part of British India), who used it to refer to the "wily oriental gents" they were pursuing thru the jungle. It wasn't originally derogatory. It became so when it passed into civilian use and was then applied generally to all Natives, some of whom took offense.
12-01-2001, 01:55 PM
I cant believe you guys bandying the "W" word around so freely! Over here its just as taboo as the "N" word.
No kiddin', red. Got past our music censors, here, on a UB40 album, even. That's one term that never gets used on this side of the Atlantic.
Hey, Q, what about "the whole 9 yards" as a phrase. Wanna chew on that one?
12-01-2001, 09:32 PM
I believe it was the size of the "entire" bolt of cloth at one time...nine yards---hence the term sprang up because a bold person would buy the whole roll....Q
12-01-2001, 09:35 PM
1--Paint the town red
2--Buy a pig in a poke
3--Touch and go (nope...don't even go there)
4--Does that ring any bells?
5--Beat the rap
Mostly easy ones there...I'm in a good mood... Q
Close, Q, and some say that such IS the right answer. Folks that have no familiarity wit' kilts, anyway.
The average kilt length for a man of common height and weight for Scotland, centuries past, was supposed to be 9 yards. Folks buyin' woolen cloth would either buy by "women's lengths" in sections, or "the whole 9 yards" where it would presumably be a guy's wardrobe.
Scary part is that it was largely the sole wardrobe for many. Worn all year 'round. Only cleanin' it got, for highland folks especially, was in the summer months, when they took 'em into the water with 'em early in the day. Early it had t'be, too, 'cause they slept in such, and no one wants moist wool t'sleep in. Uncomfortable, cold, and stinky.
Then again, it was likely already stinky.
As for yours, I've not the foggiest notion, brother. Cops still call an arrest record a "rap sheet", so I can guess that beatin' the rap has somethin' t'do wit' that, but I dunno. One o' the smarter kids here will hafta try them on. ;)
12-03-2001, 07:01 PM
Septic Tank. (clue:- Rhyming slang)
ROFL! Ain't been called a seppo since I last visitin' Australia. They use that too.
Rhymin' slang is a trip. We don't have such, here, that I ever saw.
For the room - Septic Tank was the nastiest rhyme for Yank, a colloquialism for Americans.
12-03-2001, 07:13 PM
Well done DVNC you win the prize! it seems you are not as much of a "richard" (rhyming slang) as i thought!
12-13-2001, 12:51 AM
A touch and go is a type of practice landing of an airplane. Instead of cutting power or reversing thrust after the wheels touch down, you apply full power and take off again. Then you can go around and do it again.
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