Month: January 2016

money talks, bullshit walks

Means that money will persuade people to do as you like, while cheap talk will get you nowhere. Of course if someone offers you money to do something and says he doesn’t have money with him, but will pay you later, I’d say that was the bullshit talking. The saying can be traced back to G. Torriano’s ‘Italian Proverbs’ in…

donkey’s years

A very long time. Donkey’s years is the more commonly used slang term for ‘a long time,’ but donkey’s ears, although rarely used now, has been an alternative from the early 20th century. Sometimes either phrase is shortened just to ‘donkeys.’ It may be that donkey’s ears was the earlier form and that it originated as rhyming slang, in an…

I don’t have a dog in this fight

This was a brand new phrase to me and I quite like it. A similar phrase is ‘I don’t have a stake in this game’ which is self-explanatory. If you don’t have a dog of yours in a dog fight or a horse in a horse race and are not betting on either one, you have no interest in taking…

the cat’s pajamas

This slang phrase became popular in the U.S. in the 1920s. In those days the word “cat” was used to describe unconventional flappers of the jazz era. It was then combined with “pajamas” (a relatively new women’s fashion in the 1920s) to describe something that is the best at what it does, thus making it highly desirable and eagerly sought.…

open a can of worms

Unintentionally create numerous new problems while trying to solve just one. Opening a can of worms, as any fisherman will attest, may mean more trouble than you bargained for. The good thing about live, wriggling worms is that they attract fish with their movement. The bad thing is that once the lid is off, the worms will do their best…

crossing one’s fingers

A hand gesture, sometimes performed by two people together, commonly used to wish for luck, but also used by both children and adults when telling a white lie, in the belief that doing so means they won’t get caught. Wikipedia says that the gesture of crossed fingers traces back to the early Christian Church. Members of that church, when faced…

you can lead a horse to water but you can’t make it drink

This is an English proverb. You may want the horse to drink, but the best you can do is lead it to water. After that the horse, just like a human, drinks only if it wants to. The proverb is usually used in the senses of ‘there’s only so much you can do’ or ‘people will do what they want’…