Bobby Explains The Origins Of These Common Phrases

Bobby asks the group if they know the origin of some common phrases we say all the time!

Did you know where "that's a piece of cake" comes from? Well Bobby does! He says the idea of cake being easy originated in the 1870's when cakes were given out at prizes for winning competitions.

How about this one: "make no bones about it" which means this is good, there is nothing to complain about. This phrase comes from 15th century England, if someone wanted to show they were dissatisfied with something they would find bones in it. It is an old reference to finding bones in soup. Therefore finding bones was bad and NO bones was good.

We bet you didn't know that getting a lump of coal for Christmas wasn't always considered a bad thing. The phrase "getting a lump of coal" was actually meant as getting something efficient not necessarily a bad thing because back in the day coal was necessary for heat to stay warm. So the phrase is actually meant to tell kids that if they misbehave it's not that they're getting something terrible it just won't be what they want!

Another common phrase is "jump on the bandwagon". Bobby says this one comes from circus workers who were skilled with attracting the public with parades through town. They would decorate bandwagons and people would literally jump on the bandwagon to go to the circus.

Have you ever used the phrase "nip it in the bud"? Well this one comes from flowers! If you cut a flower off at the bud it won't bloom and blossom. So the phrase suggests that by handling a minor problem as quickly as possible you're avoiding a larger problem later on down the road.

Lastly, we have "break the ice". Before the days of trains and cars port cities that thrived on trade suffered during the winter because as the rivers would freeze over ships couldn't get in. So smaller ships known as "ice breakers" would rescue the ice bound ships by breaking the ice. Essentially meaning you need to break into something, start it off, before you actually tackle what you're meant to do.

Common Phrases Explained

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