Nonsense Expressions


SubQuantum Mechanic
Valued Senior Member
A watched clock never boils. Oops. A watched pot never boils. I've never known a pot to boil. OK, what's in the pot never boils? If I watch a discarded cigarette, it won't set fire to grass? What if I peek thru my fingers with 1 eye? Can a person angry with me hassle me by staring at my pots while I attempt to cook?

A broken clock is always right twice a day. Broken sometimes means nonfunctioning & sometimes malfunctioning. So a broken clock might be running & might never be "right". A stopped clock is always right twice a day. Simply showing a time that eventually must come about isn't being right any more than a painting of a clock actually indicates what time it is or someone's 14,233rd guess as to the town or city I live in being right.

The exception proves the rule. There was a time this made sense. What it meant was the exception tests the rule. People repeat this now meaning the exception shows the rule is true/accurate/good which is absurd.

Head over heels (in love). Who doesn't have their head over their heels nearly every second of their waking time???

I'll keep an eye out for them. He caught my eye. I'm keeping an eye on you. I only have eyes for you.

Is the glass half full or half empty? No matter how much people fool themselves, they mean the same thing, no more, no less.

Enter your PIN number. Enter my personal identification number number???

Get your ducks in a row. I've actually tried this. It's like herding cats. And they won't stay angry for long.

It's like being stuck in quicksand. Well, it's very easy to get out of quicksand. Maybe it should mean it's like being ignorant.

Don't bite the hand that feeds you. Sometimes this is wise & sometimes it means you're to be a meek sheep.

The straw that broke the camel's back. I'd like to see this if not for the cruelty to the camel.

I'm just doing my job. The root of much evil.

I just can't stand it! 99.999% of the time these people are standing it.

I'll knock your head off! I'd like to see this if not for all the blood & ... you know ... the cruelty.

It's always darkest just before dawn. Have these people ever been up before dawn?

Things will look better in the morning. That never worked for me.

This hurts me more than it hurts you. WHACK!!!

Would you like flies with that? IF I wanted FLIES, I would've ORDERED FLIES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Your coat, Sir? No, it's not my coat. I borrowed it from James Dean but keep your paws off it anyway!

Don't put all your eggs in 1 biscuit.
All you're proving right now is your lack of ability to infer or comprehend implied meaning. "Is the cup half full or half empty?" Of course people know its the same thing. Its all about how you see it. really, it is meant to test pessimism vs optimism. "The straw the broke the camel's back." All it means is that events were leading up to a climax, and one final act set things in motion. Obviously a straw cant break a camels back. "Dont bite thehand that feeds you." It means that if you abuse the source of a valuable item, you might stop receiving said item. Not that one should never protest anything. And its "dont put all your eggs in one basket." Meaning, if you drop the basket, all of your eggs will break, whereas if you only have half of the eggs in the dropped basket, you'll only lose half of your eggs.

Dont be such a literalist. Things dont need to make perfect sense for people to understand their meaning. Especially set phrases like those. :rolleyes:
The jaggedness of the river did not affect my lizardlike progress through the tile floor.

How's that?
Don't be such a literalist. Things dont need to make perfect sense for people to understand their meaning. Especially set phrases like those. :rolleyes:
Don't be such a curmudgeon. ;) He's being silly. There's plenty of room for humor on the Linguistics board, as long as it's humor about words.

Haven't you ever heard Gallagher go on about it?

"Can you help me? My TV is out of whack." "Oh really? What does your picture look like when the TV is in whack?"

Why do we call them "apartments" when they're all together?

"Don't speak ill of a man until you've walked a mile in his shoes." Sure, because by then you'll be a mile away and he won't be able to hear you. And even if by some miracle he can, he won't be able to come after you because you've got his shoes.
Why is there only one word for monopoly?
Why is dyslexia so hard to spell?