Funny but true?? Origins of some popular sayings.

Discussion in 'Chit Chat' started by Rosiebud, Feb 3, 2009.

  1. Rosiebud

    Rosiebud New Member

    You are washing your hands and complain because the water temperature
    > isn't just how you like it. Think about how things used to be. Here are
    > some facts about the 1500s:

    > > Most people got married in June because they took their yearly bath in
    > May, and still smelled pretty good by June. However, they were starting
    > to smell, so brides carried a bouquet of flowers to hide the body odour.
    > Hence the custom today of carrying a bouquet when getting married.

    > > Baths consisted of a big tub filled with hot water. The man of the
    > house had the privilege of the nice clean water, then all the other sons
    > and men, then the women and finally the children. Last of all the
    > babies. By then the water was so dirty you could actually lose someone
    > in it. Hence the saying 'Don't throw the baby out with the Bath water!'

    > > Houses had thatched roofs - thick straw piled high, with no wood
    > underneath. It was the only place for animals to get warm, so all the
    > cats and other small animals (mice, bugs) lived in the roof. When it
    > rained it became slippery and sometimes the animals would fall off the
    > roof. Hence the saying 'It's raining cats and dogs.'
    > >
    > > There was nothing to stop things from falling into the house. This
    > posed a real problem in the bedroom, where bugs and other droppings
    > could mess up your nice clean bed. Hence, a bed with big posts and a
    > sheet hung over the top afforded some protection. That's how canopy beds
    > came into existence.

    > > The floor was dirt. Only the wealthy had something other than dirt.
    > Hence the expression 'dirt poor'. The wealthy had slate floors which
    > would get slippery in the winter when wet, so they spread thresh (straw)
    > on floor to help keep their footing. As the winter wore on, they added
    > more thresh until, when you opened the door, it would all start slipping
    > outside. A piece of wood was placed in the entranceway. Hence the term
    > 'a thresh hold'.

    > > In those olden days, people cooked in the kitchen with a big kettle
    > that always hung over the fire. Every day they lit the fire and added
    > things to the pot. They ate mostly vegetables and did not get much meat.
    > They would eat stew for dinner, leaving leftovers in the pot to get cold
    > overnight and then start over the next day. Sometimes stew had food in
    > it that had been there for quite a while. Hence the rhyme 'Peas porridge<
    > hot, peas porridge cold, peas porridge in the pot nine days old '.

    > > Sometimes they could obtain pork, which made them feel quite special.
    > When visitors came over, they would hang up their bacon to show off. It
    > was a sign of wealth that a man could 'bring home the bacon'. They would
    > cut off a little to share with guests and would all sit around and 'chew
    > the fat'.

    > > Those with money had plates made of pewter. Food with high acid
    > content caused some of the lead to leach onto the food, causing lead
    > poisoning. This happened most often with tomatoes, so for the next 400
    > years or so, tomatoes were considered poisonous.

    > > Bread was divided according to status. Workers got the burnt bottom of
    > the loaf, the family got the middle, and guests got the top, or the
    > 'upper crust'.

    > > Lead cups were used to drink ale or whisky. The combination would
    > sometimes knock the imbibers out for a couple of days. Someone walking
    > along the road would take them for dead and prepare them for burial.
    > They were laid out on the kitchen table for a couple of days and the
    > family would gather round and eat and drink and wait and see if they
    > would wake up. Hence the custom of holding a 'wake'.
    > >
    > > Old graveyards are small and the local people started running out of
    > places to bury their relatives. So they would dig up coffins, take the
    > bones to a bone-house, and reuse the grave. When reopening these
    > coffins, 1 out of 25 coffins were found to have scratch marks on the
    > inside and they realized they had been burying people alive. So they
    > would tie a string on the wrist of the corpse, lead it through the
    > coffin and up through the ground and tie it to a bell. Someone would
    > have to sit out in the graveyard all night ('the graveyard shift') to
    > listen for the bell; thus, someone could be 'saved by the bell' or was
    > considered a 'dead ringer'.

    [This Message was Edited on 02/04/2009]
  2. rockgor

    rockgor Well-Known Member

    Do these sound accurate to you? They sound phony to me. They seem to come from
    Europe in the Middle Ages. But they didn't have tomatoes in Europe during the Middle
    Ages. Tomatoes are from the New World.

    However, it does seem to be true that tomatoes were once thought poisonous.

    Anyway, you can find a discussion on the various terms here:

    Also found a couple other sources that indicate the above history is not too reliable.

  3. sisland

    sisland New Member

    Very entertaining post,,Thanks for posting these!,,,Sis
  4. jole

    jole Member

    True or not, I'm glad I didn't live a woman, I'm pretty certain I would have found myself a supply of water somewhere to bathe in....although I do remember the once-weekly Saturday night baths with a "lick 'n promise" in between. (Yep, I'm that old) ***Jole***
  5. Rosiebud

    Rosiebud New Member

    I didnt believe them all either - I knew they didnt eat tomatoes back then in Europe - as for the smell, everyone was smelly then, they didnt bathe regularly so they would be used to the smell and wouldnt need flowers to cover up at weddings.

    Quite amusing though.