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I have often wondered where the origins of the old  'Sayings' we all hear and know came from. Some must have very old origins, as the 'subject matter' from some indicate. It makes for an interesting topic, as we still use them today, as much as our Parents & Grand Parents did. = My Gran used to come up with amusing quizical quips as well, and as a youngster it could take a while for me to work them out sometimes. The one I never forgot was, MARY ROSE SAT ON A PIN, MARY ROSE! Some of the sayings most familiar to me are:- 'IT TOOK A WHILE FOR THE PENNY TO DROP' - 'DON'T PUT THE CART BEFORE THE HORSE' - 'A STITCH IN TIME SAVES NINE' -  'YOU CAN'T KEEP A GOOD MAN DOWN' - 'ONE MANS TRASH, IS ANOTHER MANS TREASURE' - 'IT'S RAINING CATS AND DOGS' - 'IT'S A BOBBY DAZZLER' - 'TIED TO HER APRON STRINGS' - 'NEVER IN A MONTH OF SUNDAYS' - 'YOU'RE SHOWING NEXT WEEKS WASHING' - 'STEPPING INTO ANOTHER MANS SHOES' - 'SHE THINKS SHE'S THE BEES KNEES' - 'AS BENT AS A DOGS HIND LEG' - 'A FACE LIKE A WET WEEKEND' - 'AS BENT AS A NINE BOB NOTE' - 'HE NEEDS A SLAP ROUND THE FACE WITH A WET FISH' - 'A BIT OF HARD WORK NEVER HURT ANYONE' - 'RUSHING AROUND LIKE THERE WAS NO TOMORROW' - 'DIVING ABOUT LIKE A SCOLDED CAT' - 'HE WORKED LIKE A TROUPER' etc:- there are so many good ones still in daily use by us all, what do YOU know?

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I seem to recall coming across a rather old and rather large "tome" in the Central Library which gave explanations for sayings and slang. It's so long ago I wouldn't hazard a guess at it's name...but I do recall all sayings have a reason.

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Money for old rope - was the money that the hangman got from selling bits of the rope of the victims he hanged.

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2 hours ago, History dude said:

Money for old rope - was the money that the hangman got from selling bits of the rope of the victims he hanged.

I thought this was a saying about buying old rope that was unpicked by workhouse inmates and  convicts , the result was Oakum, these bits were used for caulking the decks of wooden ships. I would have thought that the family of hanged criminals didn't have " Two ha pennies to rub together" and to be reminded by a piece of rope that was used to hang a family member would only bring sadness.

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Doubt it. The rope wasn't sold to relatives, but to those who went to see executions. It was a way for the executioner to make some money. It was very popular to watch executions and the memorably from them was worth quite a bit of money. Hence the saying which means "easy money".

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I do know that many of the sayings with "bean" in them originate due to the fact that during the medieval period the bean was a major source for everyone's diet. So it was very common. And therefore cheap!

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Elbow Grease! or as they say in Sheffield. Geeit some elboor

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3 hours ago, History dude said:

I do know that many of the sayings with "bean" in them originate due to the fact that during the medieval period the bean was a major source for everyone's diet. So it was very common. And therefore cheap!

.... as in “wheers tha bean?” or “bean theer, dun that, got t’shut”....

Medieval diets for the rich and poor, but not even a mention of a tin opener, never mind a bean?! :)

http://historylearning.com/medieval-england/food-drink-in-medieval-england/

Also, was the hangman’s rope his to sell? I would have thought he was an employee of the authorities ordering the execution and therefore no more an owner of the rope, than an executioner owned his axe?

There are as many references to ships caulking as there are hangman’s souvenirs, but I know which one I’d put my money on?!...

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4 hours ago, RLongden said:

.... as in “wheers tha bean?” or “bean theer, dun that, got t’shut”....

Medieval diets for the rich and poor, but not even a mention of a tin opener, never mind a bean?! :)

http://historylearning.com/medieval-england/food-drink-in-medieval-england/

Also, was the hangman’s rope his to sell? I would have thought he was an employee of the authorities ordering the execution and therefore no more an owner of the rope, than an executioner owned his axe?

There are as many references to ships caulking as there are hangman’s souvenirs, but I know which one I’d put my money on?!...

Not baked beans. More like our broad bean only tougher.

"He hasn't got a bean". Would be the form. A sort of bean soup was the mainstay.

Executioners were not employees, but self employed. The head's man axe was his own. So was the rope. He would have got a fee for doing the deed. The victim also paid the executioner to show it was not him doing it personally.  Henry VIII, even brought in a swordsman form France to chop Anne's head off. The executioner for Charles the 1st is believed to come from Sheffield. I suppose they had to travel about it. Since there can't have been a lot of people who could do the job, or even wanted it. Plus despite what we might think even a regular thing.  

Convicts didn't get paid for making rope or doing anything with it. So how would the expression get it's meaning of easy money to the public at large?

Interestingly enough most of your spellings for Sheffield words actually come from the older forms of English. Some even Old English. It wasn't till Doctor Johnsons Dictionary came out that many of the spellings of modern words came about and he standardised them.  

For example in Old English you could not say is it time "to wake up". Instead it was "wacken". Commonly used in Sheffield as: hasn't tha wacken up yet?  What we might call "accent" is just the remnants of old languages left over and not used anymore in the mainstream. 

 

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Henry was being almost "kind " to Anne. English  axe executioners were renowned for being butchers by comparison with their sword wielding French counterparts.!

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Not convinced about the hangman theory.

I prefer the naval connection regarding 'money for old rope', which is similar to the expression 'learning the ropes'.

On the old sailing ships every rope had a specific function and needed to be of a certain length.

When they became frayed the rope would be cut up and any usable short lengths sold on at the next port.

Frayed bits could well have ended up as oakum but intact rope would still have had some value.

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Ok, rope aside, there are more sayings I've remembered :- RED SKY AT NIGHT, SHEPHERDS DELIGHT. RED SKY AT MORNING, SHEPHERDS WARNING. - MEN DON'T MAKE PASSES, AT GIRLS WHO WEAR GLASSES. - OAK BEFORE THE ASH, THERE'S GOING TO BE A SPLASH. ASH BEFORE THE OAK, THERE'S GOING TO BE A SOAK. - IT'S THE CALM BEFORE THE STORM. - DON'T MAKE WAVES. - YOU CAN'T TAKE IT WITH YOU. - HE/SHE HAD A GOOD INNINGS. - HEN PECKED HUSBAND. - CHILDREN, SHOULD BE SEEN AND NOT HEARD. - AS GOOD AS GOLD. - LOOKING THROUGH ROSE TINTED GLASSES. - IT'S JUST PIE IN THE SKY. - SHE'S A RIGHT DOLLY DAYDREAM. - HE THINKS HE'S LORD MUCK. - A RIGHT FLASH HARRY. - A RIGHT FANCY MADAM. - A RIGHT GUTTER SNIPE. - PULLING THE WOOL OVER YOUR EYES. - BENDING YOUR EAR. - PULLING YOUR LEG. - PULLING A FAST ONE. - AS STIFF AS A PARSONS COLLAR. - WHAT GOES ROUND, COMES ROUND. - IT'LL COME BACK AND BITE 'EM. - TRUTH WILL'OUT IN THE END. - SALT OF THE EARTH. - CLIMBING THE LADDER OF SUCCESS. - DRIVING ME ROUND THE BEND. - DRIVING ME UP THE WALL. - AS HAPPY AS A PIG IN MUCK. - A RIGHT DOGS DINNER. :- have you got more you can add ? It is amazing how many sayings we use without realising it.

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LOOKING THROUGH ROSE TINTED GLASSES

The correct version being Rose Coloured Spectacles, which first appeared in Tom Brown at Oxford (1861) by Thomas Hughes. 

TRUTH WILL'OUT IN THE END  is Shakespeare. He's responsible for many of the sayings we still use.

 

The first example of 'dog's dinner' that I have found in print is from The Miami News, October 1933:

And on a bus top at a 57th St. traficc halt a youth from the sidewalk called to a young caigaet-smoking lady at the rail: "What you doing sitting there all dressed up like a dog's dinner?"

Pie In The Sky is a American song from 1911.

Lord and Lady Muck came about around 1900 from Australia.

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Gorra face like a slapped arse.

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A few years ago my sister started to write down each one that came into her head then of course I got a bit addicted to it too because every day we say one of these saying without thinking and before you know it you've said another one. It became a bit of an obsession so I started to print them all out and make a book of them  my sister was " over the moon "  when I told her we had nearly 3,000 sayings. I had to categorize them so I could check we hadn't got any duplicates but then I got a bit bored with it all. I have heard an odd one or too since that I hadn't got on my list but never bothered to add them.

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On 18/06/2018 at 16:35, southside said:

Elbow Grease! or as they say in Sheffield. Geeit some elboor

In the machine world of Sheffield's past, men would get grease on their elbows attending to greasy steam engines!

But I suspect it might have come from the sheep trade. Wool is very greasy so has to be got rid of, this was down by bashing it with hammers at fulling mills. The people doing it were called Walkers, hence the surname.

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According to Wiki the term originates from a prank when an apprentice would be asked to fetch some "elbow grease"...very similar to being asked to fetch some "sky hooks" ( popular in the 1950's)

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I wonder how many apprentices were sent down t’stooers, frantically trying to memorise their requirements, including but not limited to:

“a glass hammer, a left-handed screwdriver and some sparks for the grinding wheel” ?!

Any more recollections?.....

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I once worked on Rotherham Station. The supervisor asked me to fetch a book that included all the train times and formations. I forget what they called it. It sounded like a a joke to me - a left hand screwdriver type! So I refused. He went nuts! I still wouldn't do it. So he left me standing on the platform and went over to the other side of the station. When he came back, he had the book in his hand and said look it's not a joke!!

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Or as some were sent for " a long wait ", poor devils were stood there for ages.

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I seem to remember as a kid in the 70's/80's eating bags of crisps with a novelty item on the back of the packet describing the origins of popular sayings.  I'm tempted to say they were Walkers crisps, but I could be wrong?  Also, I can't remember any of the explanations!!!!!

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1 hour ago, ukelele lady said:

Or as some were sent for " a long wait ", poor devils were stood there for ages.

It was a "long stand" that I got caught out with along with "fetch a fan belt gasket".  As for sayings, a face as long as Norfolk Street and a face to stop a clock were my mum's favourite sayings when we looked fed up. I liked the Confucius sayings though!  W/E.

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I'll go to top o r ar stairs.

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