Without idioms, our language would be as dry as a tech company’s privacy disclaimer. An idiom — a combination of words that form a meaning different from its individual parts — are like the melody that makes our language sing. English is loaded with thousands of them. We use them so often and so easily, we may not even think much about them. “Watch Your Tongue: What Our Everyday Sayings and Idioms Figuratively Mean” (Simon & Schuster), out Oct. 30, unlocks the surprising origins of some of our most popular phrases. “A phrase becomes idiomatic only when it catches a mood or sentiment that has been felt not just by one person but by many,” writes the author Mark Abley. Here are 8 classic sayings, which caught on long ago and show no signs of letting up. ‘Blonde bombshell’ We’ve got Jean Harlow to thank for this one. The expression was coined for her 1933 film “Bombshell.” The ad campaign announced the arrival of “lovely, luscious, exotic Jean Harlow as the blonde bombshell of filmdom.” What gives the idiom power, the author writes, is that “sooner or later, bombshells explode.” ‘Cut off your nose to spite your face’ Believe it… Read full this story
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