Crazy Old

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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.
1475?  Christopher Columbus was only a nipper!
Next up,
Rome was not built in a day.
Thanks to the same source, I can share:
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.
King Henry VIII, yes that Henry, was on the throne and it was the last time the Isle of Wight got invaded.
I love how words and phrases can be so old and connect us to life, people and times hundreds if not thousands of years ago.
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4 thoughts on “Crazy Old

  1. Richard Xuzyxis

    he is the influence of many techno minimal house artists that are out there today� and you� ve probably heard one of his samples at some point in your life.

  2. Word nerd checking in here! Those are both really fun. I got a compact edition of the OED from some people I housesat for (not the new edition – the old one). It’s two volumes of tiny words with a magifying class. And it only contains the ‘most popular’ entries. I love word and phrase origins. Surely in some alternate reality, I turned out a linguist!

I'd love to know what you think, concrit is especially welcomed on fiction pieces. Thank you.

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