Archives for posts with tag: mathematics

All at sixes and sevens
means in a muddle and a rose from the disagreement described below.

In 1327 the two Livery Companies of Merchant Taylors and Skinners were chartered within a few days of one another, taking places six and seven in the Lord Mayor’s procession. Each reckoned that they were the senior and therefore should have place six and the other should take place seven. The dispute rumbled on until 1484, when they went to the then Mayor, Sir Robert Billesden, and the Aldermen for an adjudication. With positively Solomon-like wisdom he decreed that each company should dine the other annually, and that in that year the Skinners should be at place six, with the Merchant Taylors at place seven: the following year, the Merchant Taylors should take place six and the Skinners place seven. So in even years the Skinners are at six, and in odd years the Merchant Taylors are at six.

(Information provided by Anthony Payne OMT, who also told me that

“Sixes and Sevens” Rugby matches are still played between teams found from the two Merchant Taylors’ Schools (Moor Park and Crosby) and the three Skinners’ schools (The Judd, Tonbridge School and the Skinners’ School)’.  In a recent match the Merchant Taylors’ team won by 22-7.

File:Lord Mayor's Show (Canaletto).JPG
Lord Mayor’s Show by Canaletto
Photo credit Wikimedia Commons‎ (public domain)

It isn’t what you know, but who you know that matters.
Having good contacts is always useful!

There’s safety in numbers.
This is a proverb.  The idea is that it is safer to be in a larger group than one or two people.  In a group of three people, if one is hurt the second can go for help and the third stay with the casualty, for instance.  This may seem an irrelevant example now with mobile (cell) phones, but there are still wild and lonely places where there is no signal.  I’m sure you can think of other situations, where this maxim will continue to be helpful.

The more the merrier
is a reply to the question, “Is it all right if I bring a friend?”

In penny numbers
means a few at a time.  It is an old phrase, pre-decimal, and there were twelve pennies (12d.) in a shilling.  Now there are one hundred (100p) in a pound.

A common factor
is a number which divides exactly into two or more larger numbers.  The term has been borrowed from mathematics to apply to everyday life.

The lowest common denominator
is a similar term from mathematics.   If there is more than one common factor, the lowest common denominators would be the smallest.  For instance, 12=1 x 12=2 x 6=3 x 4  so the lowest common denominators are 1,2,and 3 (4=2 x 2 and 6= 3 x 2)  12=1 x 2 x 2 x 3

Numerical order
may be ascending or descending.

A countdown
is mostly associated with launching rockets and ends with zero.

They would stop at nothing.
This means that there is nothing they wouldn’t do, legal or illegal.

Lightning doesn’t strike in the same place twice.
A saying, which is likely to be true if risk analysis is used.  Figuratively, it means that the same misfortune is unlikely to happen to the same person more than once.  In this case, experience shows that this is not always true.

“One little second” is supposed to take a second to say.

One elephant, two elephants…
…is how my parents taught me to count seconds.

A stopwatch
is a more reliable method.  There is even one on my phone!

Counting sheep
is a recommended method for going to sleep.  I don’t think it works.

Thick and fast and thick and furious have similar meanings.  They remind me of a blizzard, but snowflakes are not the only things to arrive thus.

Snowballing could be a snowball fight, but is more often used to describe something which grows in the way a snowball does, when rolled downhill.

To go off the boil is what a pan or kettle does, if the heat applied is insufficient.  Someone, who has an idea and then loses enthusiasm for it, has gone off the boil.

It’s the tip of the iceberg.
The part that is apparent now is only a fraction of the whole.

It’s the thin end of the wedge
which leads to something bigger.

Nature abhors a vacuum
was the explanation I was given for plants growing to fill any available space.  Fluids moving to a place where the pressure is lower is another more literal example.

I can’t be in two places at once
unless the places are contained inside each other.  The typical schoolchild’s address takes this to its limits.  Have you ever heard the expression, “Not being a bird, I can’t be in two places at once”?

In the Bible King Solomon asked God for wisdom.  He wrote many of the proverbs in The Book of Proverbs.  A well-known story about his judgment concerning who was the real mother of a baby (long before DNA matching) can be found in the First Book of Kings chapter 3 verses 16 to 28.

“Life begins at forty”
is the title of a book by Walter B. Pitkin.  (Oxford Dictionary of Phrase, Saying and Quotation).

This is my fortieth post, so a good place to take stock and explain the titles of earlier posts, which I deliberately left out of the posts themselves.  My blog has taken on a life of its own as I have learned various skills and a bit more about how wordpress works.  When I started I had no idea that blogging was a form of social networking or that it would be so much fun.

Introduction to Sue’s considered trifles

In case you wondered how I chose the name of my blog, it was the third name I tried. The other two had already been taken.  “A snapper-up of unconsidered trifles” is a quotation from “A Winter’s Tale”  by William Shakespeare.  A trifle is a small thing and one of my favourite desserts.  I hope I have thought about the  small (and not-so-small) things in my blog, so I changed it to considered.  And my name really is Susan, which was too long for a blog title when combined with the other elements.  The other day someone asked me if I was Sue or Susan, and I said, “Yes!”


Writing   There is a piece of my writing on this page.

Menagerie (Part 1) Menagerie (Part 2)

A menagerie is a collection of animals.  I have collected sayings about animals and birds together.

Money matters (Part 1) Money matters (Part 2) Money matters (Part 3)

For richer, for poorer: Money matters (Part4)

Money matters is an unoriginal pun.  Matters can be the verb or the noun.  Either way these posts are about money.  “For richer, for poorer” is a quotation from The Book of Common Prayer in the Solemnization of Matrimony or Marriage Service.

Speaking terms (Part 1)

Yes, I like puns.  Theses are all sayings to do with speaking, or things people often say.  Terms can mean definitions and if two people are not on speaking terms they never acknowledge each other.

Are you telling the truth?  Speaking terms (Part 2) *

This post is mainly about truth and lies.  I had learned to make my titles more interesting at this stage!

Opinionated?  Speaking terms (Part 3)

More about expressing a point of view…

Can you hear me?  Speaking terms (Part 4)

…and listening to one.  “Can you hear me, mother?”  was a catchphrase in a radio show.

Can we agree to differ? Speaking terms (Part 5)

In a manner of speaking…Speaking terms (Part 6)

Understanding: Speaking terms (Part 7)

Pointed remarks: Speaking terms (Part 8)

After all the wind and rain Weather (Part 1)

We had just had some atrocious weather.

The sky above…Weather (Part 2)

On time (Part 1) On time (Part 2) On time (Part 3) On time (Part 4)

Another pun: on time means punctual, but these posts are all connected with time.  That is the subject I chose to write on.

Threats and promises

Anyone for a game of “Simon says…”?

These are commands.  The game “Simon says…” involves a leader calling out instructions.  If they are to be obeyed, they must be preceded by “Simon says”.  Anyone acting on an unauthorised instruction is “out” and has to watch until the end of the game.

Sea Fever  is the title of a poem by John Masefield, which I borrowed to introduce some sayings connected with the sea.

From the neck up introduces expressions about the head.

Hands, knees and boomps-a-daisy
is a sort of song and dance for children.  They clap hands, slap their knees, then turn round and bump their bottoms together!  I wonder whether a-daisy comes from the dance move dos-à-dos (back to back) often pronounced dosey-doh.  It is not far from a-daisy!  Boomps is just bumps.  Oh, and my post?  It’s about sayings involving parts of the body.

Food and drink

Fish or fowl?  Sayings about fish and birds.

What are you worrying about?

In vogue seemed like a good title for sayings involving clothes and beauty, although these may no longer be in fashion.

Lost and found

Making a song and dance means making a fuss.  This post is about music and dance!

This and that Not so much a collection of oddments as phrases joined by the word “and”.

Ever hopeful My first attempt at Dpchallenge (The Daily Post Challenge – Daily Prompt).  It includes travel as well as hope and I was poking fun at myself in the title for trying the challenge, which was to write the post you would write if your blog had gone viral.  I don’t think I even managed to follow all the instructions!

Last orders! (Part 1) *

More commands and another pun.  I don’t think I have ever stayed in a bar until closing time, but I am told that the barman shouts “Last orders”, when there is only time to have one more drink before closing time.  Licensing laws have changed, so this may have become historical.

Bonfire Night A topical post for 5 November.

You’ve heard it all before A post which does not discuss clichés, but uses them instead.

To the nth degree

In algebra letters are used instead of numbers.  The letter n is used to represent any number, to give a general formula.  It is a post about words ending in TH.  There is a word challenge here.

Going down! was my second attempt at writing from a Daily Prompt.

Forty is an important number in the Bible.  The people of Israel wandered in the desert for forty years before reaching the promised land.  Jesus spent forty days and forty nights in the desert.  Matthew Chapter 4.

* (An asterisk against a post indicates that it includes some of my “creative” writing.)