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Strange expressions..

Arnie 05 Jun 01 - 11:01 AM
katlaughing 05 Jun 01 - 11:04 AM
Lyndi-loo 05 Jun 01 - 11:09 AM
Arnie 05 Jun 01 - 11:12 AM
Scabby Douglas 05 Jun 01 - 11:13 AM
Arnie 05 Jun 01 - 11:18 AM
GUEST 05 Jun 01 - 11:18 AM
mousethief 05 Jun 01 - 11:29 AM
sian, west wales 05 Jun 01 - 11:45 AM
Bagpuss 05 Jun 01 - 11:56 AM
Uncle_DaveO 05 Jun 01 - 12:02 PM
Steve Parkes 05 Jun 01 - 12:10 PM
BobP 05 Jun 01 - 01:02 PM
GUEST 05 Jun 01 - 01:08 PM
Naemanson 05 Jun 01 - 01:12 PM
Mike Byers 05 Jun 01 - 03:28 PM
Matt_R 05 Jun 01 - 03:44 PM
Naemanson 05 Jun 01 - 04:35 PM
GUEST,Souter 05 Jun 01 - 04:46 PM
Linda Kelly 05 Jun 01 - 04:48 PM
katlaughing 05 Jun 01 - 05:22 PM
Mr Red 05 Jun 01 - 05:41 PM
Spud Murphy 05 Jun 01 - 06:06 PM
Rollo 05 Jun 01 - 06:10 PM
Matt_R 05 Jun 01 - 06:16 PM
Rollo 05 Jun 01 - 06:28 PM
Burke 05 Jun 01 - 08:13 PM
Uncle_DaveO 05 Jun 01 - 09:14 PM
katlaughing 06 Jun 01 - 12:08 AM
Steve Parkes 06 Jun 01 - 03:34 AM
English Jon 06 Jun 01 - 06:30 AM
Les from Hull 06 Jun 01 - 06:41 AM
gnu 06 Jun 01 - 07:08 AM
sian, west wales 06 Jun 01 - 07:14 AM
Lyndi-loo 06 Jun 01 - 07:21 AM
Giac 06 Jun 01 - 08:17 AM
CRANKY YANKEE 06 Jun 01 - 08:20 AM
Don Firth 06 Jun 01 - 01:18 PM
Don Firth 06 Jun 01 - 01:21 PM
Dorrie 06 Jun 01 - 05:18 PM
Rollo 06 Jun 01 - 07:48 PM
Rollo 06 Jun 01 - 07:55 PM
Uncle_DaveO 06 Jun 01 - 08:57 PM
Naemanson 06 Jun 01 - 09:44 PM
gnu 06 Jun 01 - 10:20 PM
gnu 06 Jun 01 - 10:29 PM
Uncle_DaveO 06 Jun 01 - 10:31 PM
gnu 06 Jun 01 - 10:34 PM
GUEST,Dancing Mom 06 Jun 01 - 10:44 PM
GUEST,Jimmy 06 Jun 01 - 11:51 PM
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Subject: Strange expressions..
From: Arnie
Date: 05 Jun 01 - 11:01 AM

Not really a folk question but I wonder if anyone can help. I've just been doing a crossword and one of the solutions was 'No skin off my nose'. Now this is a common expression but it got me thinking - where on earth does it originate? Why should it be used to mean that someone isn't too bothered about something. Anyone out there know the answer as it's just bugging me today!!


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Subject: RE: Strange expressions..
From: katlaughing
Date: 05 Jun 01 - 11:04 AM

Maybe it is in reference to winning a race by a nose and not losing any skin while doing so?

How about "hanging on by the skin of his teeth?" Or am I remembering that one wrong? Do our teeth have skin?:-)


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Subject: RE: Strange expressions..
From: Lyndi-loo
Date: 05 Jun 01 - 11:09 AM

Have a lookhere


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Subject: RE: Strange expressions..
From: Arnie
Date: 05 Jun 01 - 11:12 AM

Thanks kat/katlaughing but I don't think that's the answer. I have a feeling it might have a naval background but I'm not sure. As for 'by the skin of his teeth, I don't think that teeth have any skin so the expression probably indicates that success seem improbable but was narrowly achieved -that's what I think anyway....


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Subject: RE: Strange expressions..
From: Scabby Douglas
Date: 05 Jun 01 - 11:13 AM

Whenever anyone snatches a proffered item out of another's hands, my mother-in-law (aka Crazy Nancy) always says "Oooh, Whippit Quick, the ratcatcher"

But then she is mad.

Sd


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Subject: RE: Strange expressions..
From: Arnie
Date: 05 Jun 01 - 11:18 AM

Cheers Lyndi-loo - I didn't even know there was a phrase finder website but it will sure prove useful in the future! Even the phrase-finder doesn't seem too sure of the origin of the expression, and as a boxing term it seems a bit weak. However, unless someone comes up with anything more original I'll settle for that!


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Subject: RE: Strange expressions..
From: GUEST
Date: 05 Jun 01 - 11:18 AM

My folks used to say, as they handed you something when they were busy, "Here, hold this while I call a cop."


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Subject: RE: Strange expressions..
From: mousethief
Date: 05 Jun 01 - 11:29 AM

Do our teeth have skin?

It's called "gums" -- mine have it. Do yours? :-)

Alex


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Subject: RE: Strange expressions..
From: sian, west wales
Date: 05 Jun 01 - 11:45 AM

I've never understood, "ugly as sin". Surely sin has to be drop-dead-gorgeous or it wouldn't be so attractive (to SO many of us.)

sian


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Subject: RE: Strange expressions..
From: Bagpuss
Date: 05 Jun 01 - 11:56 AM

I always liked "keep your eyes peeled".

Bagpuss


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Subject: RE: Strange expressions..
From: Uncle_DaveO
Date: 05 Jun 01 - 12:02 PM

These are called "idioms", expressions that are peculiar to a particular language because they don't mean what they mean, so to speak.

I remember being rather amused when I was learning German, reading that someone went to see Herr Professor Schmidt, and asked the maid to see him.

She replied, "Es tut mir leid, er is nicht zu hause."

Transliterated, this would be, "It does me heavy, he is not home."

Dave Oesterreich


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Subject: RE: Strange expressions..
From: Steve Parkes
Date: 05 Jun 01 - 12:10 PM

If you were more familiar with your Bible, you'd know the original expression was "saved by the hair of your teeth". (No, I know it's not verbatim, but I'm not that familiar either!)

"Whippet-Quick" is a favourite of my mother's, usually in the form "Oi, Whippet-Quick!", which can normally be understodd as "if you don't stop that, you'll get a clip round the ear!". When I finally asked her about it, there was some discussion with Dad, and they eventually decided it was a character from "Ray's a Laugh", which was comic Ted Ray's Sunday afternoon show on the BBC Light Programme. He was an upper-class con-man, or some such.

"Hold this while I call a cop" rings a bell; was it Groucho Marx?

And Sin is only ugly to them that (think they) don't do it!

Steve


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Subject: RE: Strange expressions..
From: BobP
Date: 05 Jun 01 - 01:02 PM

"I brought my teeth just for the picture", John Harford.

On the occasion of John's passing It seems fitting
to discuss "Strange Expressions", just one of many
talents of which he was a master.

May his memory live forever in places haunted by the likes of us.

\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/

Could some references to "skin" stuff have evolved, perchance from one Antonio, a man troubled by pending loss of such flesh to one noted as being Shy-Of-Lock.

Perhaps Antonio had a bit of the Durante in him and supposed he'd square the deal with little more than his probiscus.

To which Shydude might even declare, "this smells", and settle for a date with Portia (well Clinton would have).

See John? Your not missing that much.


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Subject: RE: Strange expressions..
From: GUEST
Date: 05 Jun 01 - 01:08 PM

I think the answer in the crossward puzzle is back not nose "no skin off my back"


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Subject: RE: Strange expressions..
From: Naemanson
Date: 05 Jun 01 - 01:12 PM

Re: whippet quick - A whippet is a very fast dog, similar to a greyhound. Might this be connected to this idiom?

Re: Skin of the teeth - Remember this is an old saying and that regular dental hygiene is a relatively recent development. Those who have had to go a few days without brushing their teeth should be familiar with the "skin" of their teeth.


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Subject: RE: Strange expressions..
From: Mike Byers
Date: 05 Jun 01 - 03:28 PM

Here are a couple: My grandmother, when confronted by something odd/bad/dangerous that my brothers or I had done would say, "Well, you're a caution to snakes!" And my friend Mary (she got this from her mother) claims when someone is acting upset, they "pitched a hissy with a crepe tail."


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Subject: RE: Strange expressions..
From: Matt_R
Date: 05 Jun 01 - 03:44 PM

I just want to know who King Creole is!


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Subject: RE: Strange expressions..
From: Naemanson
Date: 05 Jun 01 - 04:35 PM

I've heard of pitching a hissy fit.


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Subject: RE: Strange expressions..
From: GUEST,Souter
Date: 05 Jun 01 - 04:46 PM

How about "It's like taking candy from a baby." Has anyone ever tried to take candy from a baby? It's hard, not easy, but this expression means something that isn't hard at all.


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Subject: RE: Strange expressions..
From: Linda Kelly
Date: 05 Jun 01 - 04:48 PM

When you have just stated the obvious, a favourite expression in our household used to be 'Queen Anne is dead.'


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Subject: RE: Strange expressions..
From: katlaughing
Date: 05 Jun 01 - 05:22 PM

We've always warned people off something with "walk wide of the Widow of Windsor!"

My mom would say she looked like the "Wreck of the Hesperis" before she got "dolled" up to go out or if she came in from gardening and the wind, etc. The Hesperis being an actual shipwreck...


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Subject: RE: Strange expressions..
From: Mr Red
Date: 05 Jun 01 - 05:41 PM

Brewer's Dictionary of Phrase & Fable points to the Book of Job (xix, 20) for a source of the "skin of one's teeth". No reference to "skin off my nose" which is far more familiar to me than "back".
However it does refer to "cutting off ones nose to spite ones face".BR>is this related by any chance?


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Subject: RE: Strange expressions..
From: Spud Murphy
Date: 05 Jun 01 - 06:06 PM

Arnie: You must be thinking of the nasal derivation. I am pretty sure the naval interpretation is in regard to the skin of one's belly.

Spud

(And I will attest to that by the hair on your chinny-chin-chin.)


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Subject: RE: Strange expressions..
From: Rollo
Date: 05 Jun 01 - 06:10 PM

Dear Dave,

Either you folks learn more about the origin of german words than we germans do, or you made a mistake... *GGG*

Transliterated, "Es tut mir leid" means "It does harm to me", not "It does me heavy". I think this is quite a beautiful way to say you are sorry.

"Leid" stands for pain, suffering, harm, expecially of the soul.


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Subject: RE: Strange expressions..
From: Matt_R
Date: 05 Jun 01 - 06:16 PM

Actually, it's the "Wreck of The Hesperus". It's a poem by Longfellow, I believe.


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Subject: RE: Strange expressions..
From: Rollo
Date: 05 Jun 01 - 06:28 PM

We should ask Hesperis about this wreck of her. *GGG*


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Subject: RE: Strange expressions..
From: Burke
Date: 05 Jun 01 - 08:13 PM

The OED doesn't explain the derrivation, but it sure give a lot of examples for "skin off ..." Skin off my bugle?

no skin off one's nose and varr. (colloq.), a matter of indifference to one. 1920 S. LEWIS Main Street xxv. 312 Go to it. No skin off my ear, Nat. Think I want to be fifth wheel in the coach?
1926 Mantrap viii. 95 If you think..that it's any skin off my nose to lose the pleasures of your company..you got another think coming.
1930 Amer. Mercury Dec. 420/1 It ain't no skin off of Hymie's bugle.
1934 J. O'HARA Appointment in Samarra vi. 158 Okay. No skin off my ass.
1938 D. BAKER Young Man with Horn I. iv. 30 It was no skin off Jeff what color his old lady painted the piano.
1955 A. MILLER View from Bridge 102 Don't thank me... It's no skin off me.
1960 D. LYTTON Goddam White Man v. 113 But it was no skin off my nose that she was dead.
1963 Australasian Post 14 Mar. 51/2 If you want to yap on like a drongo in the DTs it's no skin off my bugle. Go ahead: be a gig! See if I care!
1966 J. PORTER Sour Cream v. 60 Our arrival was no skin off her nose and she didn't pay all that much attention to us.
1971 B. MALAMUD Tenants 35 Make it like eight [o'clock] or around that if it's no skin off you. If I miss a day don't fret on it.
1972 R. MILNER in W. King Black Short Story Anthol. 378 Then Clyde said it was no skin off his ass.
1978 L. MEYNELL Papersnake xiv. 188 It was no skin off my nose... My heart wasn't hurt, even if my pride was.


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Subject: RE: Strange expressions..
From: Uncle_DaveO
Date: 05 Jun 01 - 09:14 PM

Rollo, I _HAVE_ been known to make mistakes, in German and even in other things!

Dave Oesterreich


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Subject: RE: Strange expressions..
From: katlaughing
Date: 06 Jun 01 - 12:08 AM

Yes, Matt, the poem is spelled that way, but in all the references I've seen of the actual ship it is spelled Hesperis.

Rollo, thanks! I didn't want to say anything because my high school German is VERY rusty, but I remember "O, das tut mir leid" as being one of the first phrases we learned to say "I am sorry." O das tut mir leid, DaveO.**BG**

kat


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Subject: RE: Strange expressions..
From: Steve Parkes
Date: 06 Jun 01 - 03:34 AM

And don't you Germans say "Grusse Gott" for hello, when we say Goodbye [God be with you]?

Steve


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Subject: RE: Strange expressions..
From: English Jon
Date: 06 Jun 01 - 06:30 AM

My Granny has a few classics:

how are you doing? - she'll reply "oh, not so dusty". I have no idea whether that's good or bad.

"running around like a fart in a collander" is a particular favourite when busy.

etc.

EJ


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Subject: RE: Strange expressions..
From: Les from Hull
Date: 06 Jun 01 - 06:41 AM

The naval expression skin off my/your back refers to flogging. So 'that's no skin off my back' means 'I won't be flogged/punished for that'. The boxing idion seems right for nose.

When I was a little boy (oo, haven't you got a good memory, Les!) if I asked my grandma what she was baking, she would always say 'whim-whams for ducks to chase at!' I never heard that anywhere else.

Les


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Subject: RE: Strange expressions..
From: gnu
Date: 06 Jun 01 - 07:08 AM

Skin off my nose... in British common law, one is said to have the right to swing one's arms freely in the air, but that right ends where the other fellow's nose begins. Thus, when commenting on the action(s) of others, if another's action(s)do not bother you, it's "no skin off my nose".

My aged aunt, when asked how her health was holding up, would reply, "I can hear a flea fart and I can pick fly shit off pepper." When she met someone overweight, she would greet them with, "And what have you been EATING ? Everything ?"


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Subject: RE: Strange expressions..
From: sian, west wales
Date: 06 Jun 01 - 07:14 AM

Well,if we're doing other languages - I always wondered who thought of the Welsh expression for raining cats 'n' dogs ... raining old women and walking sticks. (bwrw hen wragedd a ffin).

And speaking of skin, if someone is in a really-really bad mood he's wearing "croen ei din ar ei dalcen", or he's wearing the skin of his ass on his forehead.

sian


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Subject: RE: Strange expressions..
From: Lyndi-loo
Date: 06 Jun 01 - 07:21 AM

My Mother used to say those too Sian. She also used to say about something big that it was "big enough to call Chi on" which I assume means that it's big enough to give it a name.


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Subject: RE: Strange expressions..
From: Giac
Date: 06 Jun 01 - 08:17 AM

When asked how she was feeling, my aunt would say, "Oh, fair to middlin' I suppose."

To the same question, her sister (my mother), would respond, "Pretty apt to be arguin' too."

Both expressions came from their mother's family.

There is a local expression for something with a bad odor. "Smells like c'yarn (carrion) in the road."

And, describing a child tackling an adult task, or trying to fight with an older child or adult. "He warn't no bigger than a fart in a whirlwind."


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Subject: RE: Strange expressions..
From: CRANKY YANKEE
Date: 06 Jun 01 - 08:20 AM

Stand up straight
Look intelligent
And
Don't drag your knuckles.

Just being funny, don't take offense.

Jody Gibson


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Subject: RE: Strange expressions..
From: Don Firth
Date: 06 Jun 01 - 01:18 PM

"Bugle" as mentioned above sometimes refers to nose. I once heard someone describe someone punching someone else in the nose as "he skipped one off his bugle."

Hyperbole (as distinct from hyperbola).

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: Strange expressions..
From: Don Firth
Date: 06 Jun 01 - 01:21 PM

Oh, yeah! And the guy who got his nose punched "flipped out of his tree!"

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: Strange expressions..
From: Dorrie
Date: 06 Jun 01 - 05:18 PM

Whatever floats your boat-a girl at my school used 2 say that all the time and i never understood love Dorriexxx


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Subject: RE: Strange expressions..
From: Rollo
Date: 06 Jun 01 - 07:48 PM

Steve, there is a nice story about "Gruess Gott", which only the southerners say, by the way. Originally it was something like "greetings in the name of god", but was shortened a bit over the years...

Now a man entered an elevator going up in a skyscraper, and a priest was inside. Behaving in good manners, the man greeted the priest with "Gruess Gott". Now, literally this means "Give God my greetings". And so the priest answered: "Sorry, I am not planning to go so far upstairs..."


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Subject: RE: Strange expressions..
From: Rollo
Date: 06 Jun 01 - 07:55 PM

By the way, Dave, your answer about "Es tut mir leid" sounded a little bit gruffy to me. I did not want to sneer on you because you made a mistake. I am sure I make more than one mistake while trying to express myself in english. But it is not easy to make jokes in postings and not step on the "victim`s" toes. You see, all you get is the written word, no mimic, no modulation of the voice.

Es tut mir leid.


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Subject: RE: Strange expressions..
From: Uncle_DaveO
Date: 06 Jun 01 - 08:57 PM

Rollo: Sorry, didn't mean to sound gruffy. My intent in the last clause was to try to give the impression (usually true) that I don't take myself TOO seriously. Otherwise stated, I'm not above making mistakes (which I'd demonstrated), and not above confessing the mistake when I'm shown to have goofed.

Dave Oesterreich


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Subject: RE: Strange expressions..
From: Naemanson
Date: 06 Jun 01 - 09:44 PM

My father, when asked how he is doing, will often reply, "Still fogging a mirror..."


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Subject: RE: Strange expressions..
From: gnu
Date: 06 Jun 01 - 10:20 PM

Well, those of you who participated in the Mudcat Shite-Free Tavern thread know what "Dry as Turkey Turd Beer" means.

Here's another coined by another relative of mine, my grandmother : Drink lots of cold water and walk slow. She was a wise woman.

As opposed to my grandfather, who was always saying things like : I'd rather try to shove butter up a wildcat's ass with a hot poker. A bit too obvious, but, perhaps, wise as well, especially when referring to tangling with Gramma.


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Subject: RE: Strange expressions..
From: gnu
Date: 06 Jun 01 - 10:29 PM

Naemanson...another of that ilk is : Still able to sit up and take nourishment... a favourite of a great uncle of mine, long gone, god rest.


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Subject: RE: Strange expressions..
From: Uncle_DaveO
Date: 06 Jun 01 - 10:31 PM

When I was a kid, my mother, when aggravated extremely, would come out with: "Good...night...nurse!!!" Bedamned if I know what the expression means, but I sure knew what it meant when it came out of HER mouth!

DAve Oesterreich


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Subject: RE: Strange expressions..
From: gnu
Date: 06 Jun 01 - 10:34 PM

DaveO... yeah, i've heard that many a time and never knew the actual connotation / implication.


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Subject: RE: Strange expressions..
From: GUEST,Dancing Mom
Date: 06 Jun 01 - 10:44 PM

Giac, I have heard those expressions. My dear mother-in-law says "c'yarn", as in, "The house is as nasty as c'yarn." He ain't no bigger'n a fried apple fart" or "fart in a whirlwind". "I went in and cleaned up the whole loblolly mess" (loblolly being a type of pine tree; don't know how she put those together); a "whizerdilly fit" is similar to a hissy fit. When asked how's she is doing, a friend says, "I'm fine as frog's hair." My great-grandma used to say, in exclamation, "Good night, Miss Agnes!" Sharon


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Subject: RE: Strange expressions..
From: GUEST,Jimmy
Date: 06 Jun 01 - 11:51 PM

During my stay in Liverpool (Eng) I was always impressed by the local idioms. My favourite was "I'll get off at Edge Hill." Edge Hill was a town which was the penultimate stop on the rail line from London to Liverpool (Lime Street). In Liverpool, where there was a high percentage of catholics, the expression meant "I shall use Coitus Interruptus",


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