Nonsense Expressions

Discussion in 'Linguistics' started by StrangerInAStrangeLand, Sep 2, 2008.

  1. StrangerInAStrangeLand SubQuantum Mechanic Valued Senior Member

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    13,109
    Shoot! I would've had that 1 next.
    Can we talk?
     
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  3. CarpetDiem Burnin' hours, season days Registered Senior Member

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    You got thta right Mac, "Fuck" he's good and he can do himself!
     
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  5. StrangerInAStrangeLand SubQuantum Mechanic Valued Senior Member

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    Whutchu talkin bout, Macgyver?
    I'm fucked.
     
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  7. CarpetDiem Burnin' hours, season days Registered Senior Member

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    Course we can talk and bullshit walks, although I've only ever seen it run myself.
     
  8. StrangerInAStrangeLand SubQuantum Mechanic Valued Senior Member

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    Talk is cheap. Was it running thru your mind? Was it fuckin awesome?
     
  9. CarpetDiem Burnin' hours, season days Registered Senior Member

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    It was indeed a running commentary, albeit in pedestrian mode.

    What does it mean to be up shit creek without a paddle, when you'd only be floating downstream with ecurrnt in any event and still in the shit, but then the almighty "Fuck' knows!

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  10. StrangerInAStrangeLand SubQuantum Mechanic Valued Senior Member

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    Hell if I know! Odin willing & the shitcreek don't rise.
     
  11. StrangerInAStrangeLand SubQuantum Mechanic Valued Senior Member

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    You'll understand when you're older.
     
  12. StrangerInAStrangeLand SubQuantum Mechanic Valued Senior Member

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    "I love you." "Me too."
    He's just trying to get in your pants.
    You got me?
    You can't IMAGINE what I've been thru!
    It just wasn't meant to be.
    Fools rush in where angels fear to tread.
    That's what you think!
    "Who is it?" "It's me."
     
  13. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

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    24,690
    Thats another "minced oath." It was originally "God knows." These days, the mincing backfires. The blasphemy of invoking God's name in an oath is no longer offensive to about 95% of the world's anglophone population, whereas I'd guess that at least half of them would be offended to hear "fuck" in polite conversation.
    The saying was originally simply "Up the creek." I recall the sense of it being that you're no longer in a position to contribute to the solution of a problem. Up the creek means that you're nonetheless not completely lost, as you'll eventually return with the current, as you say. "Down the creek" would be much worse, and I've never heard that used as an expression.

    "Up the creek without a paddle" simply means that it will be even longer before we see you again within this problem domain, since you can't even paddle and must rely on the current for velocity.

    In WWII the G.I.'s added dirty words to every old saying, so it became "up shit creek," with or without the optional paddle. They made the rounds of locker rooms and hunting lodges, but then in the 1960s the Baby Boomers compulsively dirtied up the language. They appropriated those battlefield epithets and injected them into everyday conversation for shock value. Forty years later of course, the shock is gone.
    To which the proper riposte is, of course, "Damn, I've got one asshole in there already."
    * * * * MODERATOR'S NOTE * * * *

    Come on, folks, don't lose the thread of the discussion.


    This is supposed to be about "nonsense expressions," i.e. expressions that either don't make sense at all or actually contradict their literal meaning. Every one in that last group is perfectly sensible standard English.

    The old saying that begins with "Fools rush in. . ." is a quote from venerated 18th century poet Alexander Pope.
     
  14. StrangerInAStrangeLand SubQuantum Mechanic Valued Senior Member

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    WHERE would angels fear to tread???
     
  15. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

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    It's "fear" as in, "Oh Crap, is it my turn to deal with these guys tonight?" Not, "I'm scared I'll get hurt." It's from Alexander Pope's poem "An Essay on Criticism." About the sixty-eighth stanza (I lost count):
     
  16. Billy T Use Sugar Cane Alcohol car Fuel Valued Senior Member

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    Posting here as Fraggle R. is active here now and may be interested and have some answers, and also because idomatic expresions are often sort of nonsense.

    I have Brazilian wife.* For her it is not:

    Raining cats and dogs. It is raining pocket knives.

    Likewise cats only get 7, not 9 lives in Brazil.

    I think surely these and other quite similar idiomatic expresions must have some common origin, but some differences have crept in. Any ideas as to why, or other examples?
    --------------
    *She is pretty, intelligent and interesting and speaks English to me. Thus she know that for me it is raining cats and dogs, but recently when the rain was hard, she said: "It is raining cows and oxen." - perhaps that is how it got to be "pocket knives" - some creative Brazilian, who knew the English version and was caught in a sharp rain storm said (in Portuguese): "It is raining pocket knives." and other brazilian hearing him repeated it?
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 30, 2008
  17. Steve100 O͓͍̯̬̯̙͈̟̥̳̩͒̆̿ͬ̑̀̓̿͋ͬ ̙̳ͅ ̫̪̳͔O Valued Senior Member

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    "Raised to the ground"
    I hate it when I read that.

    How many people will jump on me I wonder.
     
  18. Spud Emperor solanaceous common tater Registered Senior Member

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    Razed to the ground.
    Incinerated.
    It's legit.
     
  19. Steve100 O͓͍̯̬̯̙͈̟̥̳̩͒̆̿ͬ̑̀̓̿͋ͬ ̙̳ͅ ̫̪̳͔O Valued Senior Member

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    I know it's razed to the ground. That's why it pisses me off to read "raised".

    Another one is "head over heels".

    I always say "arse over tit".
     
  20. Spud Emperor solanaceous common tater Registered Senior Member

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    Yeah, sorry.
    Arse over tit is an Aussie staple but we do have some classic mixed metaphors.
    'You can lead a horticulture, but you can't make 'er sing.'..
    That's not one of 'em but I'm sure you can imagine.
     
  21. MacGyver1968 Fixin' Shit that Ain't Broke Valued Senior Member

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    7,028
    That one I don't understand either...my head is already over my heels...now heels over head I could understand. I had a girlfriend that could do that.
     
  22. Steve100 O͓͍̯̬̯̙͈̟̥̳̩͒̆̿ͬ̑̀̓̿͋ͬ ̙̳ͅ ̫̪̳͔O Valued Senior Member

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    2,346
    "Leave him be", meaning "leave him alone"
    Where did that come from? Or does it somehow make sense?
     
  23. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

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    24,690
    The full expression is to "fall head over heels in love." In other words, to tumble.
    Back when I was a kid, "let" and "leave" were getting pretty muddled. People used to say, "Let him alone." I don't hear that one too much any more; perhaps the outrage of our teachers was successful.

    "Leave him be" is sort of the same thing in reverse, but it does have a slight difference in connotation. "Let him be" just means, "allow him to be whatever he intends to be." "Leave him be" means the same thing plus, "Let's go away and allow him to do that all by himself."
     

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