KRAZY KATS

Welcome to Krazy Kats - a friendly informal online community discussing life issues that we care about. Open 24/7 for chat & chill. Come and join us!


The Video of the Week currently showing on LAL Portal Page is: 'Science and the Séance'


The Cat's Pyjamas

Share

Kitkat
Admin Kat
Admin Kat

Posts : 3777
Join date : 2011-03-19

To sit above the salt

Post by Kitkat on Tue 13 Dec 2016, 13:24

TO SIT ABOVE THE SALT

To sit in a place of distinction at the dinner table.

Formerly, the family 'saler' or salt cellar was an ornate silver centrepiece, placed in the middle of the table.  Special or honoured guests of distinction sat above the saler - that is, between the salt and the head of the table where the host sat - while dependants and not-quite-so-important personages sat below.
avatar
Whiskers
VIP Member
VIP Member

Posts : 1449
Likes received : 7
Join date : 2011-04-02

Re: The Cat's Pyjamas

Post by Whiskers on Tue 13 Dec 2016, 23:25

Kitkat wrote:
TO SIT ABOVE THE SALT

To sit in a place of distinction at the dinner table.

Formerly, the family 'saler' or salt cellar was an ornate silver centrepiece, placed in the middle of the table.  Special or honoured guests of distinction sat above the saler - that is, between the salt and the head of the table where the host sat - while dependants and not-quite-so-important personages sat below.

Never heard that one before.  Really enjoying this thread KK.  Although some of them I already knew, I still learning lots of new things from it.  :thanks:
avatar
Kitkat
Admin Kat
Admin Kat

Posts : 3777
Likes received : 39
Join date : 2011-03-19
Location : Around the bend

A skeleton in the closet

Post by Kitkat on Wed 14 Dec 2016, 09:58

A SKELETON IN THE CLOSET

A domestic source of humiliation or shame which a family or individual conspires to conceal from others.  Every family is said to have one, and certainly these days it seems that every public figure does too, whether it is in the form of an ex-mistress or lover, or some ancient but discreditable financial scam.

The expression seems to have been in use from the early 1800s and may have derived from the gothic horror stories popular at the time, in which murders were concealed by hiding the corpose in a cupboard, or bricking it up in a wall.  In 1853, it appeared in the figurative sense in The Newcomes by William Makepeace Thackeray; And it is from these that we shall arrive at some particulars regarding the Newcome family, which will show us that they have a skeleton or two in their closets s well as their neighbours.

An apocryphal source of the phrase is a story in which a person without a single care or trouble in the world had to be found.  After a long search, a squeaky-clean lady was found, but to the great surprise of all, after she had proved herself on al counts, she went upstairs and opened a closet, which contained a human skeleton.
I try and keep my trouble to myself, but every night my husband makes me kiss that skeleton,' she said.  She then explained that the skeleton was that of her husband's rival, killed in a duel over her.

avatar
Kitkat
Admin Kat
Admin Kat

Posts : 3777
Likes received : 39
Join date : 2011-03-19
Location : Around the bend

To take forty winks

Post by Kitkat on Thu 15 Dec 2016, 11:33

TO TAKE FORTY WINKS

A colloquial term for a short nap or a doze.

Quite why shutting one eye forty times has come to mean a quick snooze is unclear, but it could have something to do with the fact that the number forty appears frequently in the scriptures and used to be thought of as a holy number.

Moses was on the Mount for forty days and forty nights; Elijah was fed by ravens for forty days; the rain of the Flood fell forty days, and another forty days passed before Noah opened the window of the ark.  Christ fasted for forty days and he was seen forty days after his Ressurection.

Modern colloquialisms for a quick nap include a 'zizz' or 'to catch a few zeds' - alluding to the 'Zzz's drawn in cartoons indicating that the character is asleep.  Busy people and politicians who work late into the night maintain their faculties by taking 'power naps' to recharge their batteries.
avatar
Kitkat
Admin Kat
Admin Kat

Posts : 3777
Likes received : 39
Join date : 2011-03-19
Location : Around the bend

Take a rain check

Post by Kitkat on Fri 16 Dec 2016, 12:23

TO TAKE A RAIN CHECK

A rain check is the receipt or counterfoil of a baseball ticket that can be used at a later date if a game has been interrupted by rain.  It is an American expression and the phrase retains the American spelling of 'cheque'.

The phrase is now often used figuratively, to put an invitation on hold and defer it until a dater late.  It is in fact, a polite way of postponing something indefinitely, with only a minor commitment to rearrange.

avatar
Kitkat
Admin Kat
Admin Kat

Posts : 3777
Likes received : 39
Join date : 2011-03-19
Location : Around the bend

A turn-up for the books

Post by Kitkat on Sat 17 Dec 2016, 16:43

A TURN-UP FOR THE BOOKS

A piece of luck or unexpected good fortune, or a surprising turn of events.  This phrase comes from the world of betting on the horses.

The 'book' is the record of bets laid on a race and is naturally kept by a 'book'maker, commonly known as a bookie.  When the horses do not run to form and the favourite does not win, it's a good day for the bookie and he can line his pockets; for him it's a 'turn-up[wards] for the books'.

giggle
avatar
Kitkat
Admin Kat
Admin Kat

Posts : 3777
Likes received : 39
Join date : 2011-03-19
Location : Around the bend

To turn the tables

Post by Kitkat on Sun 18 Dec 2016, 18:17

TO TURN THE TABLES

To reverse a situation and put one's opponent in the predicament that one has been suffering.  The saying was recorded in the early seventeenth century and was applied to the game of backgammon, the table or board on which it was played being known as 'the tables'.

The phrase may come from the old rumoured custom of reversing the table, or board, in games of chess or draughts, so that the opponents' relative positions are altogether changed - bt even then it had a figurative meaning too.

In a sermon published in 1632, an English deacon called Robert Sanderson (1587-1663), who later became the Bishop of Lincoln, said:

Whosoever thou are that does another wrong, do but turn the tables: imagine thy neighbour were now playing thy game, and thou his.

avatar
Kitkat
Admin Kat
Admin Kat

Posts : 3777
Likes received : 39
Join date : 2011-03-19
Location : Around the bend

Under the counter

Post by Kitkat on Mon 19 Dec 2016, 11:20

UNDER THE COUNTER

This phrase originated during the Second World War, and describes a - then very common - practice among tradesmen with an eye to the main chance.

From the outbreak of the war, many items, ranging from the basics like eggs, butter, meat and jam to 'luxuries' such as petrol, silk stockings and chocolate, were rationed.  Dishonest tradesmen would keep articles and foodstuffs that were in short supply out of sight or 'under the counter', for sale to favoured customers, usually at inflated prices.

This form of trading was part of the thriving wartime black market, and the term is still used today to describe any illicit trading.

avatar
Kitkat
Admin Kat
Admin Kat

Posts : 3777
Likes received : 39
Join date : 2011-03-19
Location : Around the bend

To walk the plank

Post by Kitkat on Tue 20 Dec 2016, 14:54

TO WALK THE PLANK

To be put to the supreme test or, worse, to be about to die.

'Walking the plank' is a nautical term for a punishment involving being made to walk blindfold and with bound hands along a plank suspended over the ship's side - one eventually lands up in the drink as shark food, if not drowned first.  It was a pirate custom of disposing of prisoners at sea in the seventeenth century.

The practice is probably more familiar in fiction than in fact, however, since pirates would have been unlikely to kill off captives, who could have been sold as slaves or ransomed.


In R.L. Stevenson's (1850-94) novel 'The Master of Ballantrae' (1889), James Durie and Colonel Francis Burke enlist with the pirates who capture their ship, but the brigands make their other prisoners walk the plank.

The infamous Captain Hook, in J.M. Barrie's (1860-1937) 'Peter Pan and Wendy' (1912), meanwhile, threatened to flog Wendy and the Lost Boys with a cat-o'-nine-tails ... and then make them walk the plank.

avatar
Kitkat
Admin Kat
Admin Kat

Posts : 3777
Likes received : 39
Join date : 2011-03-19
Location : Around the bend

The walls have ears

Post by Kitkat on Wed 21 Dec 2016, 15:40

THE WALLS HAVE EARS

This is a warning to watch what you say, or what secrets you divulge, wherever you are, because someone might be listening.

In the time of Catherine de'Medici (1519-89), wife of Henry II of France, certain rooms in the Louvre Palace, Paris, were said to be constructed to conceal a network of listening tubes called auriculaires, so that what was said in one room could be clearly heard in another.  This was how the suspicious queen discovered state secrets and plots.

The legend of Dionysus's ear may also have been the inspiration for the phrase.  Dionsus was a tyrant of Syracuse (the Sword of Damocles) in 431-367 BC, and his so-called 'ear' was a large ear-shaped underground cave cut into rock.  It was connected to another chamber in such a way that he could overhear the conversations of his prisoners.

 
avatar
Kitkat
Admin Kat
Admin Kat

Posts : 3777
Likes received : 39
Join date : 2011-03-19
Location : Around the bend

Where there's muck, there's brass

Post by Kitkat on Thu 22 Dec 2016, 18:23

WHERE THERE'S MUCK, THERE'S BRASS

An encouraging phrase to make one roll up one's sleeves and get to work, otherwise a statement that where there is dirt, there is money.  Feeding the soil, harvesting the crops, mining the coal may make your hands dirty, but they can produce untold riches.

The saying has come to be associated with the grimy mining and manufacturing industries of the north of England, many of which brought their owners substantial wealth following the Industrial Revolution of the nineteenth century.

'Brass' is in fact a Yorkshire term for 'money', and this version of the phrase originated there - but the proverb had existed with a different wording since at least 1670, when John Ray (1627-1705) recorded 'Muck and money go together' in his collection of English proverbs.

avatar
Kitkat
Admin Kat
Admin Kat

Posts : 3777
Likes received : 39
Join date : 2011-03-19
Location : Around the bend

What the dickens?

Post by Kitkat on Fri 23 Dec 2016, 15:13

WHAT THE DICKENS?

An exclamation of surprise or disbelief, akin to 'What the devil?'  The phrase is often shortened to 'What the ...?' and in these modern times, 'f**k' is sometimes substituted as the last world.

'Dickens' here is probably a euphemism - one possibly in use since the sixteenth century - for the Devil, otherwise known as Satan or the Prince of Evil, and has nothing to do with the novelist Charles Dickens (1812-70).

In Low German, its equivalent is 'De duks!', which may have become altered in English to 'dickens'.

The phrase was already in use by the time Shakespeare was writing:
"I cannot tell what the dickens his name is.":
The Merry Wives of Windsor (1600:3:2)

'To play the dickens' is an old-fashioned expression meaning to be naughty, or act like a devil.
avatar
Kitkat
Admin Kat
Admin Kat

Posts : 3777
Likes received : 39
Join date : 2011-03-19
Location : Around the bend

Re: The Cat's Pyjamas

Post by Kitkat on Sat 24 Dec 2016, 16:21

THE CAT'S PYJAMAS

A slang phrase coined by Thomas A. Dorgan. The phrase became popular in the U.S. in the 1920s, along with the bee's knees, the cat's whiskers (possibly from the use of these in radio crystal sets). In the 1920s the word "cat" was used as a term to describe the unconventional flappers from the jazz era. This was combined with the word pyjamas (a relatively new women's fashion in the 1920s) to form a phrase used to describe something that is the best at what it does, thus making it highly sought and desirable.

A report in the New York Times of a publicity stunt by an unknown woman in 1922, in which she paraded along 5th Avenue clad in yellow silk pajamas and accompanied by four cats similarly dressed, may indicate the phrase was already current by that date, as the "cat's meow" certainly was.

So pretty much it means the same thing as phrases like "bee's knees" - something that is highly desirable.

The term "cat's pyjamas" comes from E.B. Katz, an English tailor of the late 1700's and early 1800's, who made the finest silk pyjamas for royalty and other wealthy patrons. This phrase is often likened to and/or confused with the 20's term "cat's meow".

Katz's pyjamas are the cat's pyjamas.

avatar
Jamboree
Seasoned Member
Seasoned Member

Posts : 359
Likes received : 6
Join date : 2011-06-08

Re: The Cat's Pyjamas

Post by Jamboree on Sun 25 Dec 2016, 22:04

Kitkat wrote:
Katz's pyjamas are the cat's pyjamas.



Seasons greetings to all the krazy katz here, with or without the PJs.  toast   Loving this thread and loving the chat box addition.  :thumb:
avatar
Kitkat
Admin Kat
Admin Kat

Posts : 3777
Likes received : 39
Join date : 2011-03-19
Location : Around the bend

Re: The Cat's Pyjamas

Post by Kitkat on Mon 26 Dec 2016, 18:35

Good to see you here, Jamboree.  I hope you are having a happy Christmas too, wherever you are!
avatar
Kitkat
Admin Kat
Admin Kat

Posts : 3777
Likes received : 39
Join date : 2011-03-19
Location : Around the bend

The writing on the wall

Post by Kitkat on Mon 26 Dec 2016, 18:42

THE WRITING ON THE WALL

This is not graffiti, but a bad sign, a portent, often foreshadowing trouble or disaster.

The metaphor is biblical in origin and comes from Daniel 5:5-31, where King Belshazzar, while he was feasting, found out about the forthcoming destruction of the Babylonian Empire through the mysterious appearance of handwriting on a wall.

The words read in Aramaic, mene, mene, tekel, upharsin:  literally, 'counted, weighed, divided'.  Daniel interpreted these words as, 'You have been weighed in the balance and found wanting', thereby predicting the King's downfall and that of his empire.

Indeed, Belshazzar was killed that night, and his kingdom was conquered.
avatar
Kitkat
Admin Kat
Admin Kat

Posts : 3777
Likes received : 39
Join date : 2011-03-19
Location : Around the bend

The wrong side of the tracks

Post by Kitkat on Tue 27 Dec 2016, 15:10

THE WRONG SIDE OF THE TRACKS

To be born on the wrong side of the tracks is a disadvantage, as it was the part of town deemed to be both  socially and environmentally inferior.

The expression originated in America, where railway lines ran through the centre of towns. Poor and industrial areas were often located to one side of the railroad tracks because the prevailing wind would blow smoke from the railway and smog in that direction, leaving the better-off neighbourhoods unpolluted.

The phrase is now used to refer to anyone who comes from a poor or rough background.

giggle
avatar
Kitkat
Admin Kat
Admin Kat

Posts : 3777
Likes received : 39
Join date : 2011-03-19
Location : Around the bend

To act the giddy goat

Post by Kitkat on Wed 28 Dec 2016, 22:09

TO ACT THE GIDDY GOAT

To fool around.  Goats are known for their unpredictable behaviour.

In the literal sense, 'giddy' means 'insane' or to be 'possessed by a god', but it has been used to mean 'silly' or 'foolish' since the early Middle Ages.

In Latin, 'goat' is caper; goats are noted for their frisky nature.  'To cut a caper' means to skip or leap about playfully'.

avatar
Kitkat
Admin Kat
Admin Kat

Posts : 3777
Likes received : 39
Join date : 2011-03-19
Location : Around the bend

To the bitter end

Post by Kitkat on Thu 29 Dec 2016, 19:17

TO THE BITTER END

To the last extremity, to the final defeat, or to the death.  An affliction can be borne until the bitetr end, meaning to the last stroke of bad fortune.

'Bitter end' is a mid-nineteenth-century nautical term for the end of a rope or chain secured in a vessel's chain locker.  When there is no windlass (winch), such cables are fastened to bitts - that is, pairs of bollards fixed to the deck - and when the rope is let out until no more remains, the end is at the bitts: hence the 'bitter end'.

However, the phrase appears in the Old Testament in the context that we use today, and some etymologists believe that this is the true source of the expression:

Her end is bitter as wormwood, sharp as a two-edged sword.
(Proverbs 5:4)
avatar
Kitkat
Admin Kat
Admin Kat

Posts : 3777
Likes received : 39
Join date : 2011-03-19
Location : Around the bend

To bone up on

Post by Kitkat on Fri 30 Dec 2016, 17:17

TO BONE UP ON

To study intensively, to engage in serious research into a particular subject, or to revise a subject comprehensively.

Some sources suggest that the phrase is an allusion to whalebone in a corset, which sculpts the shape and stiffens the garment, as a metaphor for the gaining of 'hard knowledge'.

Other believe it came from the Victorian practice of using bone to polish leather, and that it indicated a polishing or refinement of knowledge.

However, in the nineteenth century a publishing firm owned by Henry Bohn (1976-1884) produced English translations of Greek and Latin classics that were widely used by students cramming for their exams - andit is possible that the expression 'to Bohn up' may have evolved into 'bone up'.

avatar
Kitkat
Admin Kat
Admin Kat

Posts : 3777
Likes received : 39
Join date : 2011-03-19
Location : Around the bend

The bottom line

Post by Kitkat on Sat 31 Dec 2016, 15:16

THE BOTTOM LINE

The main point of an argument, the basic characteristic of something, the actual value of a financial deal, or the nub or truth of the matter.

The phrase itself is an accounting term, and refers to the figure at the end of a financial statement, indicating the net profit or loss of a company.


'The bottom line' gained wide currency as a phrase during the 1970s, possibly because of its frequent use by the UK Secretary of State, Henry Kissinger (1923-).  He spoke of 'the bottom line' as the eventual outcome of a negotiation - ignoring the distraction of any inessential detail.
avatar
Kitkat
Admin Kat
Admin Kat

Posts : 3777
Likes received : 39
Join date : 2011-03-19
Location : Around the bend

By the skin of one's teeth

Post by Kitkat on Sun 01 Jan 2017, 11:50

BY THE SKIN OF ONE'S TEETH

By the narrowest margin.  There are several metaphors with the meaning 'only just' and many allude to body parts (for example, 'by a hair's breadth'), emphasizing the physical danger of a given situation from which one might have just escaped.

'By the skin of one's teeth' specifically is a (slightly misquoted) biblical phrase that means to have suffered 'a close shave':

My bone cleaveth to my skin, and to my flesh, and I am escaped with the skin of my teeth.
Job 19:20
avatar
Kitkat
Admin Kat
Admin Kat

Posts : 3777
Likes received : 39
Join date : 2011-03-19
Location : Around the bend

To carry a torch

Post by Kitkat on Mon 02 Jan 2017, 17:52

TO CARRY A TORCH

To suffer unrequited love.  Since the late 1920s,this phrase has been used to describe a long-standing emotional attachment that is either undeclared or not returned.

The torch represents the flame of undying love, and this symbolism may come from depictions of Venus, the goddess of love, holding a burning torch.

A 'torch singer is (usually) a female who sings sentimental love songs.  It is thought that the expression 'torch song', in this sense, may have been coined by Broadway nightclub singer Tommy Lyman in the 1930s.
avatar
Kitkat
Admin Kat
Admin Kat

Posts : 3777
Likes received : 39
Join date : 2011-03-19
Location : Around the bend

To call off all bets

Post by Kitkat on Tue 03 Jan 2017, 18:05

TO CALL OFF ALL BETS

A summons to cancel all wagers, deriving from the race track and the betting shops; for instance, a bookmaker may call off all bets if  he suspects that a race or other contest has been rigged.

In a widening of its meaning, the phrase is used to mean rejecting a complicated or disadvantageous issue.

In African-American slang of the 1940s, however, it meant 'to die' - indeed, the most final way of calling off all bets.
avatar
Kitkat
Admin Kat
Admin Kat

Posts : 3777
Likes received : 39
Join date : 2011-03-19
Location : Around the bend

To case the joint

Post by Kitkat on Wed 04 Jan 2017, 18:54

TO CASE THE JOINT

An American slang expression from the criminal fraternity meaning to inspect or reconnoitre a building before attempting to rob it or break into it for some other nefarious purpose.

'Joint' in this context means 'a building': an early twentieth-century colloquial Americanism for a sleazy dive where opium could be smoked or, during the Prohibition era (1920-33), where illicit spirits could be bought and drunk.  The word 'joint' has since come to be generally applied disparagingly to almost any disreputable establishment.

avatar
Kitkat
Admin Kat
Admin Kat

Posts : 3777
Likes received : 39
Join date : 2011-03-19
Location : Around the bend

To cast the first stone

Post by Kitkat on Thu 05 Jan 2017, 12:40

TO CAST THE FIRST STONE

To be first to criticize, to find fault,to start a quarrel, or to cast aspersions on someone's character.  In biblical times, the barbaric custom of capital punishment was to pelt heretics, adulteresses and criminals with stones and rocks in a public place.

The phrase is from John 8:7, spoken by Jesus to the Scribes and Pharisees who brought before him a woman caught in adultery.  They said that according to the law of Moses, she should be stoned to death, to which Jesus replied: 'He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.'



    Current date/time is Wed 19 Dec 2018, 16:01