Results 1 to 7 of 7
  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Posts
    1
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default origin of some idioms

    Hi!
    Iīm doing some research on the origin of idioms for a project at the university, but there are six idioms whose origin I canīt find anywhere. They are the following:
    At odds with
    Build bridges
    Pat on the back
    Have a soft spot for someone
    Kiss and make up
    Fight like cat and dog
    If you could help I would be very grateful
    Thanks in advance

  2. #2
    BobK's Avatar
    BobK is offline Harmless drudge
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • English Teacher
      • Native Language:
      • English
      • Home Country:
      • UK
      • Current Location:
      • UK
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Posts
    15,640
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: origin of some idioms

    Quote Originally Posted by Almudena.Saludador View Post
    Hi!
    Iīm doing some research on the origin of idioms for a project at the university, but there are six idioms whose origin I canīt find anywhere. They are the following:
    At odds with
    Build bridges
    Pat on the back
    Have a soft spot for someone
    Kiss and make up
    Fight like cat and dog
    If you could help I would be very grateful
    Thanks in advance
    Try Bartleby.com: Great Books Online -- Encyclopedia, Dictionary, Thesaurus and hundreds more and select Brewer. Brewer's Dictionary of Phrase and Fable isn't totally reliable, but it may send you down useful research paths. Also it might be worth trying Online Etymology Dictionary .

    b

  3. #3
    Avalon is offline Member
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • English Teacher
      • Native Language:
      • Portuguese
      • Home Country:
      • Brazil
      • Current Location:
      • Germany
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Posts
    309
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: origin of some idioms

    Thereīs a site called the word detective by Evan Morris that is fabulous for etymology...Itīs www.word-detective.com...check it out!

  4. #4
    MikeNewYork's Avatar
    MikeNewYork is offline VIP Member
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • Academic
      • Native Language:
      • American English
      • Home Country:
      • United States
      • Current Location:
      • United States
    Join Date
    Nov 2002
    Posts
    14,717
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: origin of some idioms

    Quote Originally Posted by Almudena.Saludador View Post
    Hi!
    Iīm doing some research on the origin of idioms for a project at the university, but there are six idioms whose origin I canīt find anywhere. They are the following:
    At odds with
    Build bridges
    Pat on the back
    Have a soft spot for someone
    Kiss and make up
    Fight like cat and dog
    If you could help I would be very grateful
    Thanks in advance
    I doubt you'll have much success with some of these. Build bridges is a metaphor more than an idiom. It is just a figurative use of "bridges". A pat on the back simply describes the action that accompanies praise. Fight like a cat and a dog is a simile based on observation of cats and dogs.

  5. #5
    BobK's Avatar
    BobK is offline Harmless drudge
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • English Teacher
      • Native Language:
      • English
      • Home Country:
      • UK
      • Current Location:
      • UK
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Posts
    15,640
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: origin of some idioms

    Quote Originally Posted by MikeNewYork View Post
    I doubt you'll have much success with some of these. Build bridges is a metaphor more than an idiom. It is just a figurative use of "bridges"....
    And it's a very old metaphor. The Pope was called pontifex because he built a bridge between Earth and Heaven. Ironically, because of the way the Pope lays down the (moral) law, the modern English word we get from it is pontificate (which has nothing to do with building bridges).

    b

  6. #6
    MikeNewYork's Avatar
    MikeNewYork is offline VIP Member
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • Academic
      • Native Language:
      • American English
      • Home Country:
      • United States
      • Current Location:
      • United States
    Join Date
    Nov 2002
    Posts
    14,717
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: origin of some idioms

    Quote Originally Posted by BobK View Post
    And it's a very old metaphor. The Pope was called pontifex because he built a bridge between Earth and Heaven. Ironically, because of the way the Pope lays down the (moral) law, the modern English word we get from it is pontificate (which has nothing to do with building bridges).

    b
    Interesting. I didn't know about "pontifex". I guess it has the same root as "pontoon".

  7. #7
    BobK's Avatar
    BobK is offline Harmless drudge
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • English Teacher
      • Native Language:
      • English
      • Home Country:
      • UK
      • Current Location:
      • UK
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Posts
    15,640
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: origin of some idioms

    - as far as the floating bridge sort is concerned. I don't know about the card-game - my first guess would be that it's a corruption of vingt-et-un.

    b

Similar Threads

  1. idioms
    By nasir in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 3
    Last Post: 21-Aug-2007, 13:23
  2. cultural origine of idioms
    By marie bilau in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 16-Oct-2006, 14:21
  3. New References of English Idioms, Slang and Swearing
    By Red5 in forum News and Announcements
    Replies: 4
    Last Post: 10-Jun-2005, 20:31
  4. idioms
    By Anonymous in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 2
    Last Post: 08-Feb-2004, 01:28

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •