The Interesting Origins Of 7 Common English Idioms

Ever wondered where some ever-present idioms originated from in the English language? We’ve researched the interesting origins of common English idioms and traced back their fascinating and sometimes bizarre history:

Interesting Origins Of Common English Idioms Always A Bridesmaid

“Always a bridesmaid, never a bride”

Definition: Literally, always being a bridesmaid and never a bride. More figuratively, it is a forlorn saying for women when they can’t find love.

Origin: This gem of an idiom was first recorded in a Victorian music hall tune, “Why Am I Always A Bridesmaid?”, by Fred W. Leigh. However, the phrase garnered popularity after a retrospectively hilarious ad for Listerine mouthwash in 1924. The slogan, “Often a bridesmaid, but never a bride”, accompanied a picture of a forlorn ‘Edna’, who, because of her halitosis (bad breath), was never being able to find love. The solution: buying Listerine mouthwash in bulk.

The Interesting Origins Of Common English Idioms: “Pull someone’s leg”

Definition: Joking or fooling with someone.

Origin: To pull someone’s leg had much more sinister overtones when it first came in use. It was originally a method used by thieves to entrap their pedestrians and subsequently rob them. One thief would be assigned ‘tripper up’ duty, and would use different instruments to knock the person to the ground. Luckily, these days the saying is much more friendlier, though being on the end of a joke might not always be fun.

Interesting Origins Of Common English Idioms Meeting a Deadline

Savannah Cox
Savannah Cox is the Managing Editor of All That Is Interesting. A graduate student in New York, Savannah enjoys all things musical and political.
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