30. Dead Ringer
This word was used in US horse-racing at the end of the 19th century. A ‘ringer’ is a horse substituted for another of similar appearance in order to defraud the bookies.
31. In Spades
The expression ‘in spades’, used to described a large amount, is a 20th century US word used in Bridge and card games, referring to Spades as one of the highest ranking suits
32. I’ll Be There With Bells On
The first record of this phrase in print is in F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Beautiful and the Damned, 1922: “All-ll-ll righty. I’ll be there with bells!”
33. In Stitches
Another Shakespeare coinage, although not used again until the 20th century. In the Twelfth Night, 1602, Maria says: “If you desire the spleen, and will laugh yourself into stitches, follow me.”
34. In The Limelight
Limelight is an intense white light widely used in 19th-century theaters to illuminate the stage. Clearly, actors who were the center of attention on stage is said to be in the limelight.
35. In The Buff
A buff-coat was a light browny/yellow leather tunic worn by English soldiers up until the 17th century. The original meaning of ‘in the buff’ was simply to be wearing such a coat. Later on, ‘in the buff’ was used to mean naked, due to the colour of the skin, which is similar to the buff coat.
36. Keeping Up With The Joneses
This American term emerged in 1913, when Arthur (Pop) Momand started a Keep Up With The Joneses comic strip in the New York Globe. The strip was so popular in, that in 1915 a cartoon film of the same name was released.
37. Feeling Under The Weather
To be “under the weather” is to be ill or to feel unwell. Originally it meant to feel seasick or to be adversely affected by bad weather and as you’ve probably guessed by now this idiom has a maritime source. In the old days, when a sailor was unwell he was sent down below deck to recover, away from the weather, something that is verified in Salty Dog Talk: The Nautical Origins of Everyday Expressions by Bill Beavis and Richard G. McCloskey.
38. Raining Cats And Dogs
If you ever happen to be around older people for some reason and it’s raining heavily then there’s a very good a chance you’ll hear this idiom. You will probably wonder why the sky would ever rain cats and dogs of all things but if you were into Norse mythology then you would know that cats were the symbol of heavy rain, while dogs were directly connected with Odin, the ruler of Asgard and storm god, and therefore represented howling wind. I think you get the point by now, right?
39. Woke Up On The Wrong Side Of The Bed
It happens to all of us once in a while, especially when we know at bedtime that we have to get up and pay all the bills, including the dreaded rent, the next morning. It’s not exactly the way any of us want to start our day. But you’re probably wondering how we ended up with this idiom. Well, in ancient Rome, getting out of bed on the left side was considered a bad sign and plain bad luck and if you made that mistake your day was destined to be a very bad one.
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