short takes

Today seems like a good day for interesting words and phrases I’ve come across lately, but which don’t have interesting histories. Or if they do, I couldn’t find them!

Backstabber —  a trusted person who attacks when one’s back is turned.

Cock of the walk — a man who acts as if he’s more important than other people.

Settle some-one’s hash — to get even; get revenge.

A leopard can’t change its spots — people can’t change who they are.

Pain in the butt — a very annoying thing or person.

Hitch your wagon to a star — aim high. If you hitch your wagon to a horse, you’ll always stay grounded. If you hitch it to a star, who knows where it could take you? 

Asleep at the switch — unprepared, inattentive. American railway terminology, from the time when railroad switches were thrown or turned by levers operated by hand, either by switch-tenders or brakemen. 

Curmudgette — female curmudgeon. Specializes in complaining about the weather. Not in the dictionary, but too good not to share.

Greet — to come in contact with, from Old English gretan. It still can mean “weep or grieve” in Scottish & northern England dialect, though it may be from a different root.

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