Expressions from the Past


Dingus
#1
As a Tudor reenactor, I am mhugely interested in how everyday sayings and expression came into being. I thought I might kick off this thread with a few and see if anyone out there has any more to add.

"Rule of thumb". In Tudor times it was legal for a man to beat his wife with a stick to keep he in line and make her know her place. However, the stick he used could not be thicker than his thumb - hence the rule of thumb.

In Tudor England there was obviously no central heating, so to help keep warmth in and the drafts out, folk would through old straw after threshing onto the floors. However, it was found that when opening doors, the straw (or thresh) would spill out. Some bright spark came up with the idea of placing a piece of wood in the doorway to stop the thresh for falling out. This of course became known as the "thresh hold".
Is this subject of interest and if so does anyone have others?

They could be the meaning of nursery rhymes, names of objects, the lore behind proverbs or just everyday sayings.

I look forward to seeing them.
 
Bar Sinister
#2
If you like that sort of thing; you might like these sites.

The Origin of Some Old Sayings

Ye Olde English Sayings

This is also an interesting site.
Famous Proverbs

Perhaps you could list one a day like Blackleaf does.
 
Said1
#3
I'm sure the origins of 'on the wagon' are at one of those sites, I always found that one funny.
 
EagleSmack
#4
Interesting that you do that Dingus. This is beyond the King Richard's Fair we have here in the states correct?
 
Goober
#5
Quote: Originally Posted by Bar Sinister View Post

If you like that sort of thing; you might like these sites.

The Origin of Some Old Sayings

Ye Olde English Sayings

This is also an interesting site.
Famous Proverbs

Perhaps you could list one a day like Blackleaf does.

Ain't worth a plugged nickel
 
Cliffy
#6
Quote: Originally Posted by Goober View Post

Ain't worth a plugged nickel

Is that just an expression you like or a comment on Blackleaf's posts?
 
Goober
#7
Quote: Originally Posted by Cliffy View Post

Is that just an expression you like or a comment on Blackleaf's posts?

Just an expression - Tried a quick search and all it showed was original coins would have their middle removed for tha base metal value and a plug inserted.
 
Dingus
#8
Quote: Originally Posted by EagleSmack View Post

Interesting that you do that Dingus. This is beyond the King Richard's Fair we have here in the states correct?



Sorry Eagle I have no idea what you are talking about. If you google Kentwell Hall, it will give you a load of info about what we do with some great photos. Cheers.

Quote: Originally Posted by Goober View Post

Ain't worth a plugged nickel

Thats great Goober. Thanks taking the time to pass it on. Out of interest, in the Tudor period (and I believe it extended even into Victorian times), there was a disease that sent people into a deep coma so that they were often buried alive.
To overcome this, bodies were buried with a string attached to their finger which led to a small bell above ground which they would ring if (God forbid) they woke up in their coffin.
If this happened, they were "saved by the bell". If not they were said to be a "dead ringer". People employed to **** in the cemetary overnight to listen for the bells were said to be on "the graveyard shift".

Eventually, someone had the idea of a "wake" where the body of the deceased would be placed in front of the fire in their home while their friends and relatives had a loud party (loud enough to wake the dead). Over time, if the body was indeed dead, it would start to dry up in front of the fire and the feet would curl up until their shoes fell off. They had "popped their cloggs".
 
Dingus
#9
Quote: Originally Posted by Said1 View Post

I'm sure the origins of 'on the wagon' are at one of those sites, I always found that one funny.


The explanation I have heard is that prisoners were escorted to their execution on the back of a wago. It was traditional for a pub to give them a drink en eoute to steady their nerves. No publican wanted to be out done, so very often the prisoner would have many more than one drink on the way to meet his maker, so much so that he literally "fell off the wagon".

Quote: Originally Posted by Goober View Post

Ain't worth a plugged nickel

So is "Do't take any wooden nickels" an extension of this or just a rewording of the same thing? (I cant see anyone being fooled by a completly wooden coin).
 
Bar Sinister
#10
Quote: Originally Posted by Dingus View Post

The explanation I have heard is that prisoners were escorted to their execution on the back of a wago. It was traditional for a pub to give them a drink en eoute to steady their nerves. No publican wanted to be out done, so very often the prisoner would have many more than one drink on the way to meet his maker, so much so that he literally "fell off the wagon".



So is "Do't take any wooden nickels" an extension of this or just a rewording of the same thing? (I cant see anyone being fooled by a completly wooden coin).


A wooden nickel, in the United States, is wood token coin, which are usually issued by a merchant or bank as a promotion, sometimes redeemable for a specific item such as a drink. Wooden nickels were most commonly issued in the US in the 1930s, after the Great Depression.
It was during this decade that some banks and chambers of commerce in the United States issued wooden nickels with expiration dates to mitigate difficulties faced by merchants in making change at times of instability.
Common views published on the internet concerning the origin of the wooden nickel are patently incomplete, often making it an innovation of this late date that arose in response to such banking difficulties. Commemorative nickels are then supposed to be an outgrowth of these legitimate wooden nickels. However, collectible wooden nickels have been mentioned in print since at least 1888[1].
In more recent times wooden nickel trading has become more popular. Individuals can have their own personalized token made and then trade with others who also have had their own made. This is especially popular in geocaching.


From Wikipedia
 
Dingus
#11
Quote: Originally Posted by Bar Sinister View Post

A wooden nickel, in the United States, is wood token coin, which are usually issued by a merchant or bank as a promotion, sometimes redeemable for a specific item such as a drink. Wooden nickels were most commonly issued in the US in the 1930s, after the Great Depression.
It was during this decade that some banks and chambers of commerce in the United States issued wooden nickels with expiration dates to mitigate difficulties faced by merchants in making change at times of instability.
Common views published on the internet concerning the origin of the wooden nickel are patently incomplete, often making it an innovation of this late date that arose in response to such banking difficulties. Commemorative nickels are then supposed to be an outgrowth of these legitimate wooden nickels. However, collectible wooden nickels have been mentioned in print since at least 1888[1].
In more recent times wooden nickel trading has become more popular. Individuals can have their own personalized token made and then trade with others who also have had their own made. This is especially popular in geocaching.


From Wikipedia

Wow! Never heard of any of that before. Many thanks Bar for explaining. Take care and talk soon.
 

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