The title of my first archive post is a little misleading. The words and phrases are more closely linked with written records than action. The second post includes party games and toys. If you have missed these posts from July 2013 please click the links and come back here to comment.
Prevention is better than cure.
Until recently I did not possess a Dictionary of Proverbs. How I came to buy The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Proverbs may be found here. This is the first time I have remembered to refer to it, while compiling a post. The history of the use of this expression is given. It dates from about 1240 when the idea appeared in Latin in rather different wording. The first example in English is the one I like best.
Prevention is so much better than healing, because it saves the labour of being sick.
T. Adams 1618 Happiness of Church. (I have updated the spelling for modern readers.)
You’re slipping means that you are letting your standards drop.
Hope against hope is a phrase meaning going on hoping even when a situation appears hopeless. It is a quotation from St Paul’s letter to the Romans 4:18
The end is in sight. Encouragement that a task, an ordeal or a journey, for example, is almost finished.
That improved it no end. No end here is an exaggeration – a limitless, immeasurable improvement.
A marked improvement is noticeable not stained.
Beyond recognition describes a complete change.
Titivating is an interesting word. According to the Concise Oxford Dictionary it has an alternative spelling (tittivating) and used to be spelled tidivating, possibly deriving from tidy and cultivating. It means smartening, putting the finishing touches to. I can remember the first time I heard it as a teenager; I did not quite understand!
Knocked into a cocked hat means thoroughly beaten in the winning and losing sense. In The Dictionary of Modern Phrase Graeme Donald gives four possible derivations of cocked hat. All are interesting, but there is not evidence for one rather than another.
There are always winners and losers. A statement which applies in many spheres of life.
Trounce is a verb describing an overwhelming victory. Someone may be trounced at cards, say.
Cut thin to win is a saying from card games. To ensure that there is no cheating, one player shuffles the cards and another cuts the pack, by lifting a random number from the top of the pile. Depending on the number of cards picked from the top, the cut is thick or thin. It should also be a clean cut, so that there are two neat piles of cards afterwards. More about card games may be found here.
Some of the ideas in this post may be expressed with reference to animals.
You’ve redeemed your honour – something you have done has restored your good reputation. The idea of redemption is restoring something to its rightful owner or the owner receiving back something, which had been lost.
In the Bible redemption is important in both the Old and the New Testaments. In the Book of Ruth, Boaz was a kinsman redeemer. He became an ancestor of Jesus Christ, the Redeemer of the World. In the opening verses of his letter to the Colossians, St Paul sets out what it means to be redeemed by Christ. Colossians 1:1-27 (with particular reference to verses 13 and 14)