Monday, September 2, 2013

History of some of most commonly used phrases

New research has revealed the surprisingly sinister history behind some of  most commonly used phrases.

'Gone to pot' dates back to a time when boiling a criminal to death was a legal punishment .

'Pulling someone's leg' came into use at a time when London was rife with thieves who tackled their victims by pulling them to the ground by their leg.

The saying 'meeting a deadline' refers to a line drawn by soldiers during the American Civil War to deter inmates from trying to escape - those attempting to cross it would be shot in the head.

Applying a 'rule of thumb' suggests a practical approach to problem solving, but it originally referred to a violent method of settling marital disputes.A judge, Sir Francis Buller, ruled 'a man was entitled to beat his wife with a stick provided it was no thicker than his thumb', the Glasgow Herald stated in 1886.

'Paying through the nose' was a Viking punishment of slitting the nose from tip to eyebrow of anyone who refused to pay tax.

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