October word herd

Lose face — to be humiliated, to lose one’s reputation, to suffer public disgrace. In this context, “face” means: prestige, dignity, honor, respect, status. It could be also defined as how one appears, or wishes to appear, to friends, family, and business associates. The phrase “lose face” began as a translation of the Chinese phrase tiu lien. To “save face” has no direct equivalent in Chinese and is merely the converse of “lose face.” (1899)


Have skin in the game — invest time or money pursuing a goal where there is risk of loss. A common term in business, finance, gambling, and politics. For example, the owner of a racehorse has skin in the game. The phrase may have come from Shakespeare’s play The Merchant of Venice, in which Shylock stipulates that Antonio must promise a pound of flesh as collateral in the event of default on a loan. And you think your bank is unreasonable!


His nibs — a mock title often used to refer to a self-important man, especially one in authority or someone seen as aloof. It’s modelled after the references to the British aristocracy, such as “his lordship.” The phrase is recorded first in print about 1820, but may well be older. The Oxford English Dictionary says the origin is obscure. In cribbage, the term is used when the deck is cut to reveal the top card, called the “starter.” If this card is a jack, the dealer scores two points for “his heels” or “his nibs,” or “his nob.”


bobby socks — a style of women’s sock, so called because they are “shortened” or “bobbed” compared to knee-socks. (1943) (Thanks to Leanne for the suggestion!)


Tough titty — A sarcastic way of saying “tough luck!” meaning, “too bad; stop complaining and deal with it!” The complete saying is roughly, “Tough titties said the kitty, but the milk is mighty fine!” “Tough” has meant “hard luck” since the 1870s, with tough luck first being recorded in 1890, tough titty in 1929, and tough shit in 1946. The last was probably in use much earlier but wasn’t recorded until changes in attitudes after World War II began to allow such terms in print. (Thanks to Barbie for the suggestion!)


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  One thought on “October word herd

  1. Leanne Taylor
    October 14, 2021 at 4:42 am

    Thank you!
    Thank you!
    You make my day!

    Liked by 1 person

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