Ever wonder where some of those crazy sayings and words come from? Everyone’s heard the old one about the Royal origins of the F-bomb, but what about some lesser noticed ones? What’s a hissy, and why are their fits so infamous? Who goes to a T? When did pens get to some how be stronger than swords, when swords are specifically designed to–you know–be mighty?
Let’s find out…
What’s the origin on a hissy fit? Well word on the interweb might lead you to believe that it is merely a misappropriation of the word “hussy.” If you did think that–you’re wrong. It’s okay. We all make mistakes.
And that’s all we know. Being the endless pot of useless ingenuity that the Americans are, we just pulled it out of nowhere. …Weird.
Ever wanted to do something really good? You know, make it the cat’s pajamas? The bee’s knees? Absolutely top-notch?
…Ever wanted to do something to a T?
There’s some question in the acamdemic community as to what exactly that means. What’s the T? Is it a tee? Tea? The tops? Does it stand for “to a terribly complete nature?”
Well, at least we don’t think so. In fact, the phrase to a T could mean any number of things but the most likely culprit is that it derives from the phrase “to a tittle,” first used by writer James Wright way back in the 17th century. unfortunately, this answer just raises new questions–what’s a tittle?
I’ll leave that one to you guys and this link to figure out.
One more! This one is about weapons. Have you ever learned anything about swords? They’re sharp. They’re heavy. They put people in the ground like no one’s business for hundreds and hundreds of years. Pens, meanwhile, operate by dripping dark ink on to a tiny rotating ball bearing that transfers the ink from the case to paper.
Which sounds mightier?
Well if you ask the guy who started a book with “It was a dark and stormy night,” the pen is. That guy was Edward Bulwer-Lytton. He now has the high praise of being associated with the annual Bulwer-Lytton Fiction writing contest, which challenges writers to write… terribly.
The richly poetic “the pen is mightier than the sword” doesn’t sound so awesome now, does it?