The Meaning of Popular Idioms by @KimMonte10

Phrases. Idioms. We use these in our everyday lives. We make funny jokes about them on Twitter. But do we really know how they came about? No, you say? Well, let me break down a few for you and school you on the meaning of popular idioms.


1) A Taste of Your Own Medicine: Back in 1742, Ernest Darguman was the doctor for all of Rhode Island. He invented an elixir called Surpatonic. Whenever anyone fell ill, he would administer this medicine immediately before telling them that, although they would feel better at first, their arms would fall off within 48 hours and they would die. Soon, there were thousands of armless men, women and children carelessly driving horses and dying. People were armless and angry (and then dead). Shortly after the 1743 blizzard of 1792, Dr. Darguman fell ill with Polio and refused his own medicine. A young child without arms decided to take matters into his own hands. He slipped the medicine into the doctor’s whisky one night (using his mouth) while the doctor was distracted by a bar fight that broke out over a scarf. The doctor took one sip and immediately knew he had finally tasted his own medicine. His arms immediately fell off and he went on to invent the glove.


2) Barking Up the Wrong Tree: Back in Ancient China, 1242, a pug named Chao ruled the country with an iron fist and a curly tail. Although many respected Chao, he was difficult to understand. The people of China finally devised a system that would help them figure out exactly what Chao was trying to tell them.  There were 25 different trees in the garden outside his palace and each tree symbolized a specific act. Every day, Chao would come out, choose his tree and run up it while barking. This act let the people know what he wanted to enforce that day. So one morning, April 5, 1243 to be exact, his loyal subjects gathered around his tree garden awaiting Chao’s appearance. Chao finally emerged from his palace. He majestically approached the last tree on the left, ran straight up it barking the most authoritative bark he has ever produced. The people gasped!! “He can’t mean that”, one said. “I don’t believe it!” said another. He had run up the tree of war. By running up this tree, Chao immediately declared war on France. Although confused, because the French were their ally, the people listened to Chao and prepared for war. They marched into France and were immediately slaughtered. People will always remember that horrid day as the day Chao barked up the wrong tree. Historians have recently concluded that he was just a dog and had no idea what he was doing.


3) Don’t Look a Gift Horse in the Mouth: This one phrase came about more recently than you would expect. Back in 1925, actress Lana Lavoovaboob was America’s sweetheart. She starred in classic movies such as “From Here and Beyond the Wild West”, “The Milk Man Cometh” and my favorite, “It’s Windy Up In Here”. She would get thousands of gifts from fans on a daily basis but back in 1925, there were no mailmen, so you would receive your gifts from a horse. Everyone knew when this horse showed up to your house, you don’t look at him. You wait for him to regurgitate your gift right out of its mouth. But because of the amount of gifts these poor horses had to deliver to Lana, it was unhealthy for them. President Polk grew concerned. He had to inform Lana that she was killing all the horses and that moving forward; she was no longer to receive gifts. This angered Lana. She became irrational and hard to work with. Her movie career suddenly came to an end. She became homeless and wandered the streets searching for her “gifts” in the mouths of any horse she would pass. It was one cold day in May when her life tragically ended. She passed a beautiful white gift horse on the street. As it opened its mouth to eat a carrot that its owner was about to feed him, she walked up and looked in its mouth. The horse mistook her for a carrot and ate her while the owner screamed, “Don’t look a gift horse in the mouth when it wants a carrot!” They eventually dropped the “when it wants a carrot” and it became something you would say to a greedy actress who somehow incorporated boob into their name.


4) New Kid on the Block: In 1986 a group of fresh faced nubile boys who sang like angels was born. So nowadays, when people see someone new they say, “Oh here’s the new kid on the block!”, and everyone immediately breaks out into a dance routine while singing “Hanging Tough”.


Now that you know the true meaning of these everyday phrases you will do well in school and be very successful in life. This is a fact. I obviously know what I am talking about.

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