Archives for posts with tag: literature

Lives of great men all remind us
We can make our lives sublime,
And, departing, leave behind us
Footprints on the sands of time

(A Psalm of Life Longfellow)

Sleight of hand or legerdemain is a form of conjuring.  The expression can be used figuratively to mean deceit.

Use your loaf  is an expression from rhyming slang.  Use your head rhymes with loaf of bread!  No wonder Londoners have a reputation for being quick-witted.

Once bitten, twice shy.  If someone has had a bad experience they are likely to be more wary in the future.

To get the bit between your teeth is a metaphor.  A horse with the bit between its teeth is ready for action.  The phrase describes strong motivation.

An old hand is an experienced person.

Win by a short head comes from horse-racing.  The distance between the first and second runners is less than the length of the winner’s head.

A head for heights is an attribute of someone unaffected by vertigo.  It is a requirement for certain jobs.

Dizzy heights may be social rather than physical.  People rise to dizzy heights in their professions.  Dizziness is a symptom of vertigo (fear of heights).

Left for love, right for spite is a saying about the reason for having a “burning” ear.  The assumption is that others are talking about the person.  If their left ear is burning the conversation is favourable; the right ear indicates that it is not!

Masquerading as means pretending to be.  Have you noticed how weeds grow near similar plants?  A dandelion may hide near a campanula or a willowherb near a golden rod.  A masque (like a mask) involves disguise.

A hard nut to crack.  Nut may be used to mean head.  The expression may refer to a person, who is not easily persuaded.  Nut meaning head also leads to the expression nutty meaning slightly mad (insane).

There’s no love lost between themthey cannot stand each other!

St Paul’s First Letter to the Corinthians includes a picture of how the body fits together and works as a whole.  Love is also a theme.  There is a passage which is frequently read during marriage services.  1 Corinthians 12:12-13:13

“Well, now, what was I going to say?” said Mr. Butterbur, tapping his forehead.
“One thing drives out another, so to speak”

Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring (Chapter 9)

His name escapes me is a way of saying I have forgotten his name.  There are lots of ways to express this idea:
I can’t remember;

I don’t recall;

It doesn’t spring to mind;

I can’t bring it to mind.

People with poor memories say they have a brain like a sieve or a head like a sieve.  (It has holes in it and soon becomes empty!)

They may ask some one to
Remind me to…

or ask the question, while they are in the middle of recounting something,
Where was I?

When people wish to remember something from the past they may collect reminders known as memorabilia or souvenirs.  Holiday souvenirs remind us of places we have visited.  It is a French word. Sous means under and venir means to come.  The writing of memoirs saves information for future generations.

Memories are important.  Both the things we have to remember to do and the things we remember about the past.

Remember your Creator in the days of your youth…  Ecclesiastes 12:1. (NIV)

Ecclesiastes 12:13-14 explains the whole duty of man.

(If you are no longer young and the first reference passed you by, the words of the prophet Isaiah may be more helpful Isaiah 55:6-7.)