National Sanctity of Human Life Day, 2009
I am sorry

I talk funny

because I get most of these.



'I'll just give this a lick and a promise,' my mother said

as she quickly mopped up a spill on the floor without moving

any of the furniture.


'What is that supposed to mean,' I asked as in my young

mind I envisioned someone licking the floor with his or her



'It means that I'm in a hurry and I'm busy canning tomatoes

so I am going to just give it a lick with the mop and

promise to come back and do the job right later.


'A lick and a promise' was just one of the many old phrases

that our mothers, grandmothers, and others used that they

probably heard from the generations before them. With the

passing of time, many old phrases become obsolete or even

disappear. This is unfortunate because some of them are

very appropriate and humorous. Here is a list of some of

those memorable old phrases:


1. A Bone to Pick (someone who wants to discuss a



2. An Axe to Grind (Someone who has a hidden motive)


This phrase is said to have originated from Benjamin

Franklin who told a story about a devious man who

asked how a grinding wheel worked. He ended up walking

away with his axe sharpened free of charge)


3. One bad apple spoils the whole barrel

(one corrupt person can cause all the others to go

bad if you don't remove the bad one)


4. At sea (lost or not understanding something)


5. Bad Egg (Someone who was not a good person)


6. Barking at a knot (meaning that your efforts

were as useless as a dog barking at a knot.)


7. Barking up the wrong tree (talking about

something that was completely the wrong issue

with the wrong person


8. Bee in your bonnet (To have an idea that won't let

loose )


9. Been through the mill (had a rough time of it)


10. Between hay and grass (Not a child or an adult)


11. Blinky (Between sweet and sour as in milk)


12. Calaboose (a jail)


13. Catawampus (Something that sits crooked such as

a piece of furniture sitting at an angle)


14. Dicker (To barter or trade)


15. Feather in Your Cap (to accomplish a goal.

This came from years ago in wartime when warriors

might receive a feather they would put in their cap

for defeating an enemy)


16. Hold your horses (Be patient!)


17. Hoosegow ( a jail)


18. I reckon (I suppose)


19. Jawing/Jawboning (Talking or arguing)


20. Kit and caboodle (The whole thing)


21. Madder than an wet hen (really angry)


22. Needs taken down a notch or two (like notches

in a belt usually a young person who thinks too

highly of himself and needs a lesson)


23. No Spring Chicken (Not young anymore)


24. Persnickety (overly particular or snobbish)


25. Pert-near (short for pretty near)


26. Pretty is a s pretty does (your actions are

more important than your looks)


27. Red up (clean the house)


28. Scalawag (a rascal or unprincipled person)


29. Scarce as hen's teeth (something difficult to



30. Skedaddle (Get out of here quickly)


31. Sparking (courting)


32. Straight From the Horse's Mouth

(privileged information from the one concerned)


33. Stringing around, gallivanting around, or piddling

(Not doing anything of value)


34. Sunday go to meetin' dress (The best dress you



35. We wash up real fine (is another goodie)


36. Tie the Knot (to get married)


37. Too many irons in the fire (to be involved in too

many things)


38. Tuckered out (tired and all worn out)


39. Under the weather (not feeling well this term came

from going below deck on ships due to sea sickness

thus you go below or under the weather)


40. Wearing your 'best bib and tucker' (Being all

dressed up)


41. You ain't the only duck in the pond (It's not all

about you)


Well, if you hold your horses, I reckon

I'll get this whole kit and caboodle done and sent

off to you. Please don't be too persnickety and get

a bee in your bonnet because I've been pretty

tuckered out and at sea lately because I'm no spring


I haven't been just stringin' around and I know I'm not

the only duck in the pond, but I do have

too many irons in the fire. I might just be barking

at a knot, but I have tried to give this article

more than just a lick and a promise


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