Why do we say “the rule of thumb”?

When we want to measure or do something specific in a certain way we will that’s the rule of thumb. But what does it actually mean and where did come from? In the year of 1976 not only the cold war ended but NOW magazine published an article talking about the origins of this expression. They said the expressions spurred in 1782, an English judge said “a man should have the right to beat his wife with a stick as thick as his thumb”. Though there is no truth behind this statement made by the judge. Actually the truth is much more simpler and happier. The reference is used when with no scientific knowledge to prove otherwise. The rule is often used to describe vague things, imprecise things. Much like the thumb which is not a real instrument of measurement.

Why do we call some people “black sheeps”?

Whenever we see someone in a pack of friends but he seems to not belong with them, we call that person a black sheep. Or when our favorite team has a player who doesn’t want to cooperate with the rest of the team. What about one of the siblings who doesn’t achieve any success and is a lazy bum unlike the rest of the family. Most families have at least one lazy person per family, that person is often called the black sheep. A black sheep is considered worthless, a normal sheep can produce wool that is useful. Nurturing a black sheep takes the same amount of time as a white one but the black wool has no value at all in the market. So raising a black sheep is a waste of time and often are considered¬† useless.

Black wool was useless because it could not be dyed. So uselessness of these sheep created an analogy with useless humans.

Why is an important moment called”moment of truth”?

The moment of truth is what the Spanish called the instant where a bullfighter choose to make the final slash of his sword and it was introduced into English by Ernest Hemingway. It was this American writer that wrote the novel Death In The Afternoon, it was written in 1932.¬† The instant the bullfighter does his last move is very crucial, it is a decisive moment for the bull and El Matador. So El momento de la verdad, or the moment of truth as it’s known in English, the phrase became associated with any big decisions.

Ernest Hemingway, was an influential writer born in Illinois, he wrote many important novels. He wrote in a distinctive style which is called the Iceberg Theory. He often never revealed the main part of the story and sidetracked a lot.

Why do we say “I know it by heart”, when we know something?

Whenever we know something 100%, when we know something like the back of our hand we say I know it by heart. When we know something by heart it means we repeated it a lot in our heart. See we repeat it in the head not in the heart but why do we use the heart as the epicenter of the expression. The process of repeating in your head is called learning by rote. Rote is from the latin word Rota and it means wheel. It is an analogy of repeating something in our heart many times to learn it, like a wheel that keeps rolling. The Greeks thought that it was from the heart we think and not the brain.

Did you know that the Greek language used in current day Greece is completely different from the ones used in the Forums of Athens millenniums ago by the Ancient people.

Why is something special called “the apple of your eye”?

People always have something special and there are many ways to call your special one or special thing. For most people it will be the line that is “the apple of your eye”. This expression dates from a very long long time, in the old days people thought the eye ball was solid and spherical like an apple, so that’s what they called it. Therefor anyone or anything compared to your eyeballs, would instantly be something¬† very special to you. In the bible it even talks about it, Moses says “He found him in a desert land, and in the howling waste of wilderness; he encircled, he cared for him, and kept him as the apple of His eyes.

Another famous line of the bible is “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

Why do we say “that takes the cake”?

The meaning is pretty simple, often said in competition when someone really does something exceptional which surely means they win…But the actual origins of the saying comes from the parties of Afro Americans in the dancing halls around the US. Afro Americans in the Old South would show off their dancing skills in dance halls, these contests, if you can call them that, were called Cakewalks. Because the participants were to dance around a cake in the middle of the hall which the winner would get. The participants were people of any race, any gender and couples for most of the time. A panel of judges would watch the dance, with the winner than decided. He/She would take the cake. Normally the most innovative and elegant dancers would take the coveted cake.