Wondering about wild grapes

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Wondering about some more old sayings.

Have you ever been told to "pipe down"?  I heard that from my Mother when I was a young man.  Now, I wonder how it got to mean "be quiet".  Well, actually it came from the sailing ships and the Navy.  They used a whistle that could produce different tones to give orders (signals) to the crew and one such signal was to hit the bunks (or hammocks) and be quiet and go to sleep.  I believe they still use it today, although I don't know for sure.  If any of you do know for sure, please give me a "cut and dried" explanation.

Speaking of "cut and dried", where do you think that pharse originated?  Well, it came from the sixteenth century when physicians preferred dispensing herbs that were already "cut and dried".  Why?  Because, dried herbs are both more concentrated and more uniform in strength.

Now don't get mad at me and "read the riot act".  OK, where did "read the riot act" phrase come from?  It got started back in 1716 when King George 1 of England started it.  It was a law that made it illegal for twelve or more people to congregate together and "disturb the peace."  OK, now you know the origans of a few common phases, so go ahead and have a great day, you hear?


  1. That's what I am, cut and dried,,,,

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  3. See my blog, and I wasn't doing it on purpose,,,realized I use those all the time..lololol

  4. There's an old saying in China. Actually, there's a lot of old sayings in China. It's an old country.

  5. To me, 'cut and dried' means that the deal is sealed and that's the end of the matter. 'Reading the riot act' is when someone has a right go at you for doing something wrong.

    It's amazing how so many different words or phrases have varying meanings around the world and it's always interesting to find out where those words or phrases originated from.

  6. Trouble, You don't live far enough into the desert to be cut (by cactus) and dried (by the sun) . . . As I see on your blog, we all use those old sayings.

    Sixbears, the older the country the older the sayings.

    Rum-Punch Drunk, most of the sayings now don't mean what they did in the first place.

    1. So true Dizzy-Dick. Nowadays you have to even watch what you say due to all the political correctness that is going on. You need a dictionary to keep up with what the 'words' now mean, instead of using them as they were originally intended.

  7. I always liked the one about reading the riot act and understood the meaning of it, but never knew who started it to begin with. Come to think of it, King George caused a lot of riots, didn't he.

  8. It's always interesting to find out the origins of expressions and that one about the Navy has reminded me that my son is going through an long enlistment process with the British Navy.

    And yes, the context of how expressions are meant now can be rather different from the original meaning.

    Thanks for this, good sir and enjoy the rest of the weekend.


  9. Gypsy, When I was in school I hated history now I can't get enough of it. Someone should have read me the riot act for not liking history back then.

    Klahanie, I hope your son enjoys his enlistment int the Navy, it could be a career for him if he likes it. Good luck to him.