Colloquial sayings are so regional and seem to be handed down through families - but they are fascinating. In a post a couple of days ago I briefly asked if you knew any. There was such an interesting response so I thought I would share some of them with you.
The one which seems to be common to all English speaking countries is the euphemism for going to the lavatory. I would hope that these days we are all less inhibited about it but everybody seems to know what is meant by going "to see a man about a dog" or "see a man about a horse".
Similarly with the weather "prophets" (there are always a few of these about, especially in England where we are pretty obsessed about the weather). All areas seem to say the same thing with a regional variation at the end. My grandfather used to say "It's black over by Fulletby" (a nearby village); my father-in-law would say "black over Zebra (a nearby hill); you added another variation "black over by Bill's mother's"; and the one I really like "Black as Newgate's knocker".
Showing astonishment seems to be another wide-ranging one. I tend to say "Hell's teeth!". A lot of you seem to say, "Well, I'll go to the foot of our stairs!" or "Heavens to Murgatroyd" - and one which I might well adopt as I love it - "Holy liftin' snappers!"
The one I mentioned on my post was my Father's Thursday saying, "Ah well, tomorrow will be Friday and we've caught no fish today!" Another one that you added (and my father used to say this too )"Call me early Mother dear, for I'm to be queen of the May." This is an interesting one because this comes from Tennyson's "May Queen", which leads me to believe that in those days more people were aware of poetry.
Appearance was another area where these sayings abound. "Mutton dressed as lamb" springs instantly to mind. Someone said "You look like the wild woman of Borneo" and that is familiar too and makes me wonder whether there was such a fairground sideshow in Victorian times.Looking as though you had been dragged through a hedge backwards was another common term.
But by far the biggest category was that of what I choose to call "Homilies" and I suspect that everyone who reads this could add to this list:-
Good things come in small packages.
Mighty oaks from little acorns grow.
Don't put off 'til tomorrow what you can easily do today.
Procrastination is the thief of time.
Good, better, best - may you never rest- til your good be better and your better best.
If a job's worth doing it's worth doing well.
Never a door closes but a window opens.
A whistling woman and a cackling hen is neither use for God nor men (or variations of this).
It's wise child that knows its own father.
As Reader Wil said in her comment a few days ago - English is such a rich language, mainly because it has been enriched over the centuries by so many other languages. I think this sort of thing proves that that is so.
Just three final ones which don't fit into any of the above categories:-
A lovely nonsense one from one of you: " A lot of weather we're having at the moment, doesn't it." (Thanks for that Helen). And two from my childhood. If we met someone who was virtually a stranger but upon conversation we knew so many people in common we would say, "Well I don't think we are related, but it looks as though we used to lean our clothes prop up against your chicken run."
And if there was a glut of anything (plums, apples etc.) we would say we have "enough to cobble dogs with" (I suppose logically that would mean we had twice as much as we needed).
Enjoy this lovely sunny Sunday.