Friday, July 21, 2017

Wing it

This idiom has its origin in the theater when impromptu performances were given by actors who had hurriedly learned their lines while waiting in the wings and then received prompts from there. (source)

The phrase expanded outside of the theater to mean doing anything without preparation. 

Thursday, July 20, 2017

A no brainer

This phrase means something that requires little mental effort or intelligence to perform or understand. The term is often applied to decisions which are straightforward or sometimes to people who appear to lack intelligence. The origin of it isn't clear, it seems to have just come into being. Read about it here.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Hard pill to swallow

In the late 17th century this phrase started appearing in speech. At first it was simply "a pill to swallow" and then as the years went by different people started adding the word "hard" or even "bitter" to the saying. The idea then, and now, is that pills can be difficult to swallow - and in the figurative sense a hard pill to swallow means accepting something that is hard to believe. (source)

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Off his rocker

The origin of this phrase is ambiguous. The figurative use of it is to mean that someone has gone crazy, a little nutty. 

Monday, July 17, 2017

Weakest link

The literal meaning is fairly obvious. A chain can only work as long as all the links are equally strong. But if one, just one, is weak and breaks then the whole chain becomes weak. So therefore, as the saying goes - a chain is only as strong as its weakest link.

In the figurative it means pretty much the same thing - i.e. a group of people is only as strong (or as unified, cohesive, etc) as its weakest person. Once that person breaks down the whole group weakens.

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Burst your bubble

The only origin for this phrase is the literal one, happiness when bubbles are floating around and a deflated countenance when they burst. In the figurative it's used to indicate someone who gives information to another person that will more than likely disappoint them; to ruin someone's happy moment; to destroy someone's expectations. (source)

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Sawing logs

At some point in the past someone thought that the sound of logs being sawn also sounded like snoring. Thus the figurative phrase for snoring was born. (source