short takes

It’s the shortest month of the year, which I thought was a good excuse to post expressions which are interesting but which don’t seem to have a history or, at least, none that I can find. I don’t know whether the seventh day of the month has any significance, but let’s pretend it does!

A real corker: Odd, unique, special, or a type of person. Not necessarily bad or good.

Hit the nail on the head: Do or say something exactly right.

Fly off the handle: To lose one’s temper suddenly and unexpectedly. This American phrase refers to the uncontrolled way a loose axe-head flies off from its handle. It is first found in print in Thomas C. Haliburton’s Sam Slick in England, in 1843.

Brow of the hill: For a human, a ‘brow’ is a forehead. For a hill, the ‘brow’ is the top part of the hill. 

Mad enough to spit nails (nickels): or “chew nails and spit rivets;” American, 1940s.

Dollymop: Amateur female prostitute in 19th century London. (‘Dolly’ was one of the slang terms for penis.)

Boondocking: Camping without hookups, usually in a completely undeveloped area. Also called ‘dry camping’ and ‘dispersed camping.’

Safe as houses: Very secure. A shelter from the elements, from the late 1800s. 

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