We all love a good saying. There are many different phrases that get used over and over, from favorite movie quotes to curious cultural references. But what about those odd phrases we hear on a regular basis, but we don’t really know where they come from? Have no fears! In this session of the Witty Wordsmith we will delve into some frequently misheard or misunderstood phrases to sort of where they came from and what they really mean.
“I nipped that problem in the bud”
Nope. I didn’t spell that wrong. This has nothing to do with being bitten in your posterior region (though you will frequently see this misused as nipped in the butt or bum). This phrase has its origins in horticulture where you nip (cut) a bud off of a flowering plant to either keep it from flowering or spreading.
“A moot point”
Sometimes misused as ‘a mute point.’ Mute means unable to speak, while moot means irrelevant or obsolete.
“I couldn’t care less”
This is a tricky one due to the compound negative in the phrase. Often misused as ‘I could care less’ – this means that yes, in fact you can care less than you do now (a.k.a. you do care!). It needs to full negative to say ‘I don’t care, I could not care less, go away, leave me alone…’ you get the picture!
“I’m going to use you as my scapegoat”
Sometimes misused as ‘escape goat.’ A scapegoat is one who is blamed for the actions of another. An escape goat is a farmyard animal that just got out of its pen…
“This upgrade will wreak havoc on the engineering systems…”
Wreak means ‘to cause.’ Unfortunately it sounds a lot like ‘wreck havoc’ which is incorrect. That would mean you are destroying chaos with chaos… which might be a great philosophical discussion but usually not good for your writing!
Check back next month when we bring you more intimidating, misused or simply interesting words and phrases to try out in your sims!