Archives for posts with tag: Bible

What came first, the chicken or the egg?

This is perhaps the first philosophical question I ever heard.  To have a chicken requires an egg and hens (often known as chickens) lay eggs.   The expression it’s a chicken and egg situation has become popular.

She’s no spring chicken is a euphemism meaning that someone is getting on in years.

Chicken feed is considered inexpensive, leading to the meaning a trifling sum of money.

It is possible to ruffle someone’s feathers (although people are mammals, not birds) by annoying them or embarrassing them.

Spitting mad is very cross.  Spitting is antisocial, but has been an act signifying disdain.

Spitting blood is also to be extremely angry.  (Oxford Dictionary of Modern Slang)

Spitting feathers (as far as I know) has a similar meaning.

Spit and polish is a quick wash, when there is no water available.

Roast on the spit has nothing to do with saliva.  A long spike is used to pierce fowl or flesh (meat), which is cooked in front of an open fire, turning for even cooking.  It was a usual means of cooking for centuries in homes able to afford food, fuel and servants.

As rare as hen’s teeth is hyperbole in the style of a simile as hens do not have teeth.  Rare means unusual, not non-existent.  (However a steak may be rare, which is a bit better cooked than raw.)

Like drawing teeth compares the extraction of information (for example) to the extraction of teeth, (after which, people do spit blood!)

Cocksure means over-confident.

To chicken out is to back out of some activity due to fear.

Cock crow is early in the morning.  The dawn chorus begins before sunrise as birds wake up and begin to sing.

Before the cock crows twice… John 13:31-38

Another quotation from the gospels how often have I longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings… Matthew 23:37-39


Bend someone’s ear usually means try to persuade them.

Pillow talk takes place in bed.  In UK English pillows are specifically for heads to rest on in bed.  US English has widened the meaning to include cushions, which are now fashionable adornments on beds as well as being useful on armchairs and sofas.

Rabbiting on is a slang expression about talking at length.  I’ve never heard a rabbit make a noise, have you?

Banging on is another slang expression for going on about something.  Nowadays many people say “went” instead of “said”.  It is an extension of the same idea, although it is disliked by purists.

To put it bluntly or to be blunt means to say what you mean without leaving any room for doubt or ambiguity.

Stuff and nonsense is associated with those dealing with young children.

Piffle and tosh and Balderdash are two old-fashioned ways of saying Nonsense.

Well, I never (did)! expresses surprise.

What do you know? has various meanings depending on the emphasis. WHAT do you KNOW? is an expression of surprise. What do YOU know? is possibly a put-down.

I won’t kowtow to anyone.  This is derived from Chinese and means not submitting to another person’s superiority.

When all’s said and done…
…may introduce a summary of someone’s understanding of a situation.

Having the last word can become a habit.

I’ll tell you what…
…may introduce a plan.

Go off the deep end means lose one’s temper (usually verbally).

To vouchsafe information is to tell someone something.  The verb vouch (for) means guarantee and  now there are all sorts of money-saving vouchers or coupons.

To pull something off means to succeed.

So long! is an informal way of saying Goodbye!

Hang on his every word means listen attentively.  (Luke 19:47-48)