Do you ever find yourself wondering just who exactly first coined that particular expression? There are so many idioms that just float out of our mouths daily, many of them generations if not centuries old, familiar enough to be clichés at times. I found myself discussing the origins of ‘pigs may fly’ the other day, what prompted someone to say that? I love the whys of life, as you know. I know too that there are two main sources of the word pictures that we use regularly in English, Shakespeare and the King James version of the Bible. Diverse but solid cornerstones of both English literature and language from centuries ago, from the early days of printing and the setting in stone (or maybe metal is more accurate) of spellings and words.
So imagine my surprise when I came across some sources for another two common expressions. You’ve probably heard of them, probably even used them yourself.
When in Rome …
So any hazards as to age?
It was apparently formerly stated as ‘when at Rome, do after the doom’ so check this out, quoted directly from the Oxford English Dictionary Word of the Day:
c1475 Proverbs (Rawl. D.328)in Mod. Philol. (1940) 38 122 Whan tho herd hat Rome, Do so of ther þe dome.
1545 R. Taverner tr. Erasmus Prouerbes (new ed.) sig. Div, Ye may use this prouerbe when ye wol signifie that one daye‥is not ynoughe for‥acheuinge‥a great matter‥Rome was not buylt in one day.