Month: December 2018

thrown under the bus

This idiom means to cause another person suffering in order to save oneself or gain personal advantage. It means the brutal sacrifice of a loyal teammate for often small or minor advantage. It offers a violent image of callously disposing of someone.  The phrase can be replaced by using the terms betrayal, double-crossing, duping, bamboozling, hanging out to dry or…

Walking the Windsong

I’ve just published a collection of short stories and poems called “Walking the Windsong.” Here’s the back page blurb: The seventeen stories and ten poems in this book contain a touch of mystery, a touch of fantasy, a touch of science fiction and more than a touch of humor. At the same time, some of these timeless stories touch, in…

plum duff

“Plum duff” is a slang term for plum pudding, which originated in medieval England, and is traditionally served as part of Christmas dinner.  In spite of the name, the pudding contains no actual plums. In pre-Victorian times, the word “plums” meant raisins. The pudding is composed of dried fruits held together by egg and suet, treacle or molasses, and flavored…

posh

“Posh” means rich, aristocratic, wealthy, loaded, fancy, elegant, toffee-nosed, swanky, well-off, or well-to-do.  A very popular urban myth says that “posh” originated from the phrase “Port Out Starboard Home.” It sounds plausible, but a good many language experts, including the Oxford and Merriam-Webster Dictionaries, Phrases (a British website specializing in phrases) and Snopes, all say it’s nonsense. When you’ve read…

spill the beans

To “spill the beans” means to divulge a secret, especially if you do so by accident, or maliciously, and upset the situation. The earliest meaning of “spill” was “kill,” in common use in the 1300s. It has meant “divulge” since at least the 1500s. Variations include: “spill the soup,” “spill your guts,” “spill blood,” and just plain “spill.” You might…

by hook or by crook

“By hook or by crook” means “by any method necessary,” suggesting that you should do whatever you have to, whether or not ethical and legal, in order to accomplish a goal. The origin of the phrase is obscure, with several different explanations and little evidence to support any particular one over the others. The phrase has endured at least partly…