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View Full Version : Cliches That Don't Make Sense



Dom Heffner
02-26-2006, 07:06 PM
This is probably another one of my dud threads, but I was thinking about some proverbs or cliches that simply don't make sense or that are not necessarily true.

"Money can't buy happiness."

Sure it can. It is not a prerequisite to happiness, nor does it solve all problems, but having a bunch of it sure makes people happy sometimes and it can make getting through life a whole lot easier.

"Waste not, want not."

Unless you want more than what you would have wasted, then this handy saying gets tossed out the window.

"The exception proves the rule."

I've never understood this one, and frankly it would seem the exception would disprove the rule. Every time.

"Trust your judgment."

Better hope your judgment can tell you when you need to get someone else's.

"It's not whether you win or lose, it's how you play the game."

Anyone remember the last time a losing team advanced in the playoffs? Or do they just pass on the team that played better? What in the heck does this mean?

Others? Comments? Anyone? Bueller?

gonelong
02-26-2006, 08:56 PM
"Money can't buy happiness."

Sure it can. It is not a prerequisite to happiness, nor does it solve all problems, but having a bunch of it sure makes people happy sometimes and it can make getting through life a whole lot easier.


I know a pretty wide range of income earners. Without a doubt, the people that are, IMO, the happiest are the lower wage earners. I think its because the do lots of things with family, friends, and neighbors. For many of them, its the only entertainment they can afford.

Money can buy you stuff, and make life easier, but it doesn't make you happy.



"Waste not, want not."

Unless you want more than what you would have wasted, then this handy saying gets tossed out the window.


Yea, gotta agree.



"The exception proves the rule."

I've never understood this one, and frankly it would seem the exception would disprove the rule. Every time.


Agree again.



"Trust your judgment."

Better hope your judgment can tell you when you need to get someone else's.


So true.



"It's not whether you win or lose, it's how you play the game."

Anyone remember the last time a losing team advanced in the playoffs? Or do they just pass on the team that played better? What in the heck does this mean?



As you drop from Pro, to College, to High School, to Jr. High, to Grade School ... this applies much more.

I have always been a bit intrigued about those cliches that are contradictory.

Look before you leap ... or He who hesitates is lost?

There are a bunch of these.

GL

Falls City Beer
02-26-2006, 10:21 PM
Doesn't "Waste not, want not" mean that it's wise not to waste in the sense that, by not wasting what you have in the now, in the future you won't want for anything? I think there's a temporal factor to the saying. Also, I think the sense of the word "want" means "lack" more than our more contemporary (and limited) sense of word "want," meaning "desire." In other words, "Waste not, lack not." Does that make sense?

But here's one that flat-out pisses me off: "A stitch in time saves nine" Huh? :confused:

traderumor
02-26-2006, 10:25 PM
"It's the same difference." :bang:

max venable
02-26-2006, 10:52 PM
How 'bout this one:

The naked truth.

What is that all about? Is that different from the clothed version of the truth? Is it somehow truer if it has disrobed?

Isn't the truth the truth whether it's naked or not?

Here's another:

He stuck his foot in his mouth.

Where did that come from? Did somebody actually do that at some point thus beginning a new cliche?

Oh...now I'm thinking of all kinds...how 'bout:

Dead as a doorknob

What? Yeah, I guess a doorknob is dead alright. Was someone killed and the killer needed a good metaphor and he says, "Yeah, he's dead alright...he's as dead as...(can't think of anything, looks around the room, sees the door...)...he's as dead as a doorknob! Yeah! That's how dead he is. Just like that doorknob over there." Huh?

One more...

Stop your cryin' or I'll give you something to cry about.

never made any sense to me. "Yeah...I don't NEED something to cry about...I'm cryin' already."

Hap
02-26-2006, 11:46 PM
I'm willing to look into the camera right now and say that I have never bet on baseball and I have never bet on Cincinnati Reds baseball.

RFS62
02-27-2006, 12:16 AM
But here's one that flat-out pisses me off: "A stitch in time saves nine" Huh? :confused:



Doesn't that mean that if you put a stitch in a garment when you first need it, it saves having to put in nine stitches later after the tear increases in size?

RedsManRick
02-27-2006, 01:48 AM
"The exception proves the rule."


The fact this the occurance is viewed as an abnormality, an exception if you will, is proof that in fact that rule does exist. For if the rule did not exist, then there will be nothing notable about the occurance being referenced.

Gainesville Red
02-27-2006, 02:08 AM
"Don't put the cart before the horse."

C'mon, no one actually put the cart in front of the horse, did they? If they are liable to make such a mistake, why are they in the cart hooking up business in the first place? What a silly mistake that would be. How would you even hook up a cart in front of a horse?

max venable
02-27-2006, 08:14 AM
Here's another one I heard on TV last night (and it's related to the "naked truth" one):

the bare essentials

Aren't essentials essentials? I mean if something is essential, isn't it already the bottom line minimum? Nooooo! We have to make it the bare essentials (somehow even more essential than the essentials) :confused:

919191
02-27-2006, 09:09 AM
I heard an old guy tell a pretty girl once that she was prettier than a june bug on a post split 4 ways.

chicoruiz
02-27-2006, 09:41 AM
"Don't throw out the baby with the bath water".

Dang! I keep forgetting that!

Johnny Footstool
02-27-2006, 11:05 AM
"The whole nine yards." I hate this one because everyone says it, but no one understands what it's referring to.

There is a lot of debate in regards to its origin, but one thing's for sure -- it's not about football.

Dom Heffner
02-27-2006, 11:17 AM
"More perfect."

Drives me nuts. If it were already perfect, you wouldn't have had to give it more anything.

RedsManRick
02-27-2006, 11:24 AM
"More perfect."

Drives me nuts. If it were already perfect, you wouldn't have had to give it more anything.

You can put any percentage over 100% in the same boat..

Err, there's another one -- how the heck did boat's become standard place in which put similar things?

Dom Heffner
02-27-2006, 11:25 AM
The fact this the occurance is viewed as an abnormality, an exception if you will, is proof that in fact that rule does exist. For if the rule did not exist, then there will be nothing notable about the occurance being referenced.

I really appreciate the explanation, and I realize you aren't saying you agree one way or the other, but there are rules that do not have exceptions, so why is it not necessary to have an exception to prove that they exist?

Dom Heffner
02-27-2006, 11:28 AM
You can put any percentage over 100% in the same boat..


I agree- if someone is saying they agree with me or behind me. But if you increase 100 by 400, you've increased it by over 100% haven't you?

max venable
02-27-2006, 11:47 AM
I've never heard a good explanation for "It's raining cats and dogs."

OldRightHander
02-27-2006, 12:25 PM
I've never heard a good explanation for "It's raining cats and dogs."

The explanation I heard, and I'm not absolutely sure of the veracity, is that it dates to 19th century London. Apparently in some of the poorer parts of town the houses all touched and one could go from rooftop to rooftop. Folks would exercise their pets on the rooftops but when it rained the roof would get wet and slippery and the folks walking on the street would see cats and dogs falling from above. I've not researched that, but that is the explanation I heard several years ago.

I think the baby with the bathwater one dates to the 19th century as well when people without running water would heat water on the stove and fill the bathtub by hand. Apparently the whole family would then take turns using the tub and there was some pecking order for use of the bathtub. Dad got first dibs, followed by Mom and then the kids. The youngest child would be the last to use the tub. I guess it would be a good idea to remove the child before throwing out the water.

redsfanmia
02-27-2006, 03:01 PM
"The whole nine yards." I hate this one because everyone says it, but no one understands what it's referring to.

There is a lot of debate in regards to its origin, but one thing's for sure -- it's not about football.
I though that fabric came in 9 yard rolls hence buying the whole nine yards. I dont know if this is correct but thats what I think.

Maldonado
02-27-2006, 03:23 PM
"I COULD care less" when you really mean to say "I COULDN'T care less" is one that drives me insane.

deltachi8
02-27-2006, 03:38 PM
I thought the Whole Nine yards refers to the length of the ammo strips used to fill machine guns in WWII or so. They came in 9 yard lengths, so when you went to unload on a target, you gave them the whole nine yards.

I could be wrong though, I often am.

gonelong
02-27-2006, 03:56 PM
Dead as a doorknob



The saying should be "dead as a doornail". These sayings morph over the course of time, mostly because the original meaning is lost on the next generation(s). We have doorknobs, but nobody knows what a door-nail is. That is why you get knuckleheads ;) saying "a tough road to hoe". Who the heck would hoe a road? I guess that would be tough! Its a row. You hoe a row, as in a row of corn or whatever.

In the good old days they would tear buildings down and re-use whatever nails they could. In those days when they would hang a door they would bend the end of the nails on the other side so they wouldn't pull out. Hence, "doornails" were not able to be re-used. Dead as a door-nail.

My grandpa lived into his 90's and I'd ask him about this stuff all the time. He was more than happy to tell me what they all meant and I was more than happy to listen. I know a bit about the meanings of those old sayings, or at least what my Grandpa's interpretation of them was.

I have considered changing my user name to "Good Eats" or "Prit'near" more than once, as a memorial to good old Grandpa.

GL

gonelong
02-27-2006, 04:04 PM
I thought the Whole Nine yards refers to the length of the ammo strips used to fill machine guns in WWII or so. They came in 9 yard lengths, so when you went to unload on a target, you gave them the whole nine yards.

I could be wrong though, I often am.

That is the way I understand it as well ... though I have also heard the 9 yds of fabric and the 9 cubic yards of concrete on a truck.

GL

gonelong
02-27-2006, 04:10 PM
Doesn't "Waste not, want not" mean that it's wise not to waste in the sense that, by not wasting what you have in the now, in the future you won't want for anything? I think there's a temporal factor to the saying. Also, I think the sense of the word "want" means "lack" more than our more contemporary (and limited) sense of word "want," meaning "desire." In other words, "Waste not, lack not." Does that make sense?

Thats how I understand it.



But here's one that flat-out pisses me off: "A stitch in time saves nine" Huh? :confused:

Back in the day when you sewed and mended your own clothes, a stitch in time would literally save 9. If you noticed a whole in your sock or a tear in your pants you would mend it pretty quick. If you let it go for awhile, chances were pretty good the whole would be bigger or the rip would catch on something and rip much wider. If you applied the one stitch in a timely manner, you would certainly save yourself much more sewing than if you didn't.

GL

Johnny Footstool
02-27-2006, 04:22 PM
I thought the Whole Nine yards refers to the length of the ammo strips used to fill machine guns in WWII or so. They came in 9 yard lengths, so when you went to unload on a target, you gave them the whole nine yards.

I could be wrong though, I often am.


That is the way I understand it as well ... though I have also heard the 9 yds of fabric and the 9 cubic yards of concrete on a truck.

I've heard both of those theories.

I've read that most concrete trucks can only hold about 4.5-5 cubic yards of concrete.

I've also heard it takes 9 yards of cloth to make a Scotsman's kilt (untrue).

gonelong
02-27-2006, 04:35 PM
The explanation I heard, and I'm not absolutely sure of the veracity, is that it dates to 19th century London. Apparently in some of the poorer parts of town the houses all touched and one could go from rooftop to rooftop.


From what I have heard ... there were no sewers, so when it rained hard the animals would have nowhere to go but on the roof to escape the water that would fill the streets. On particularly nasty days (hard rains) the cats and dogs would slip off the roof or even fall through it.

GL

gonelong
02-27-2006, 04:41 PM
I've read that most concrete trucks can only hold about 4.5-5 cubic yards of concrete.


Me to, I have yet to google it, but I wonder what they used when the were making the Hoover dam? I wonder if they had 9 yards of concrete on trucks or buckets, etc. for that?

Nope: googled and found they only had 8 yd buckets.

GL

RedsBaron
02-27-2006, 05:45 PM
"I COULD care less" when you really mean to say "I COULDN'T care less" is one that drives me insane.
I started to post that one-it drives me crazy too.

Rojo
02-27-2006, 06:34 PM
What I don't get is why anyone would want a skinned cat or canned worms.

max venable
02-27-2006, 06:38 PM
The saying should be "dead as a doornail". These sayings morph over the course of time, mostly because the original meaning is lost on the next generation(s). We have doorknobs, but nobody knows what a door-nail is. That is why you get knuckleheads ;) saying "a tough road to hoe". Who the heck would hoe a road? I guess that would be tough! Its a row. You hoe a row, as in a row of corn or whatever.

In the good old days they would tear buildings down and re-use whatever nails they could. In those days when they would hang a door they would bend the end of the nails on the other side so they wouldn't pull out. Hence, "doornails" were not able to be re-used. Dead as a door-nail.

My grandpa lived into his 90's and I'd ask him about this stuff all the time. He was more than happy to tell me what they all meant and I was more than happy to listen. I know a bit about the meanings of those old sayings, or at least what my Grandpa's interpretation of them was.

I have considered changing my user name to "Good Eats" or "Prit'near" more than once, as a memorial to good old Grandpa.

GL
great explanation gl. Thanks for that. :thumbup:

Hollcat
02-27-2006, 07:20 PM
What about being "head over heels" Isn't that the normal position. I'm sure there's some sort of explanation but it just never made sense to me.

Gainesville Red
02-27-2006, 07:32 PM
I've been hit pretty hard before, but never hard enough to "knock my socks off."

Dom Heffner
02-27-2006, 07:44 PM
What about being "head over heels" Isn't that the normal position. I'm sure there's some sort of explanation but it just never made sense to me.

I think it is saying that you are so happy that you've flipped head over heels. I never thought about it, though, so I could be wrong.

max venable
02-27-2006, 08:22 PM
Here are some more...feel free, gang, to explain :)

He's on a roll.

In the nick of time.

I'm willing to let it slide.

Can't see the forest for the trees. (I've always struggled with that one in particular. Somebody please help)

Stop on a dime. What's that supposed to mean?

A bird in hand is worth two in the bush. :confused:

gm
02-27-2006, 08:25 PM
I was given a paperback book similar to this, it makes for interesting reading

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1555210104/sr=8-1/qid=1141086068/ref=pd_bbs_1/103-5680587-8863816?%5Fencoding=UTF8

After hearing "It has a mind of it's own" being used to describe inanimate objects, I revised it to "It has no mind of it's own" Feel free to use it

gonelong
02-28-2006, 12:48 AM
Here are some more...feel free, gang, to explain :)

Can't see the forest for the trees. (I've always struggled with that one in particular. Somebody please help)
This is someone who gets so bogged down in the details that he forgets about the big picture.


A bird in hand is worth two in the bush.
A guaranteed one is better than a possible two.

If you are a hungry fella, its good to have a bird in hand, it means your going to eat. Two in the bush might be great, but there is no guarantee you will get both of them, or either of them for that matter.



GL

SteelSD
02-28-2006, 01:42 AM
"More fun than a barrel of monkeys."

Ok. Maybe this is just my take, but I don't think a barrel of monkeys would be all that fun. Poo throwing x 10 is NOT my idea of a good time. Might even be more than 10 'cause I don't know how many monkeys fit in a barrel. Could be more if they're little monkeys. But not those red-butt monkeys. They're sort of big. Well, for monkeys that is. Maybe you could keep the lid on to not let the monkeys out but if you forget to drill air holes in the barrel, then all you end up having is a large container full of dead monkeys. I don't see how a bunch of dead monkeys is all that fun. Maybe if you're a taxidermist, but I'd think that a whole barrel of dead monkeys would just be dead monkey overload. Sigh...

"Speed never slumps."

When a cliche' can be countered by Tony Womack it is, by definition, teh suck.

"Easy as pie."

Pie is hard. It just is. I don't get pie. It might seem easy, but definitely not those lattice-crusted pies. Those even look hard. Of course pie is easier than it used to be with all the premade dough and pre-packaged gooped-up filling, but it's still hard. Not as hard as it used to be, but the next time I walk into the kitchen and hear my wife offer to whip me up a quick pie will be the first.

"He swept her off her feet."

In most civilized countries, this will result in a kidnapping charge. At minimum, it's a phrase likely to be used in a doctor's notes describing the cause of a hernia.


"Don't look a gift horse in the mouth."

A complete load of crap. What if the horse's teeth are so bad that it's going to need a huge investment in dental work unless you plan to watch it gum its food? How about if it's got serious incurable palate infections that cause so much pain that you'd have to put him down? Well, then all you're getting as a gift is a dead horse. And that seems like even less fun than a barrel of dead monkeys.

max venable
02-28-2006, 10:14 AM
"Don't look a gift horse in the mouth."

A complete load of crap. What if the horse's teeth are so bad that it's going to need a huge investment in dental work unless you plan to watch it gum its food? How about if it's got serious incurable palate infections that cause so much pain that you'd have to put him down? Well, then all you're getting as a gift is a dead horse. And that seems like even less fun than a barrel of dead monkeys.
:laugh: :laugh:

max venable
03-03-2006, 01:17 PM
Was late for work. Had to make up an excuse for being late. Here's how my conversation with the boss went down:

Rolling into the office a full two hours late, I told my boss that my grandmother kicked the bucket and I had to attend her funeral. All in all, a plausible excuse -- were it not for the fact that I'd already used it three times this month.

"Now hold your horses right there," he said. And I could tell already that he had gotten up on the wrong side of the bed this day.

Uh oh, I thought. Looks like the sh*t's about to hit the fan. (Pardon my French) Guess it's time to face the music.


"I've got an ax to grind with you. Your cock and bull stories may have worked with others, but they're sure as heck not going to work with me. Let's cut to the chase: If you slip up one more time, I'll have you working the graveyard shift(He was on a roll at this point). As far as I'm concerned, your name is mud, mister. Now, stop lollygagging and get back to work!"

So I decided that I had to bite the bullet. What could I do? I'd been caught red-handed.

I was about to offer a sarcastic comeback but I thought, now's not a good time. I oughta just put a sock in it. This son of a gun had me nailed to the wall ...for all intents and purposes.

After all, he was the big cheese.

So I decided not to beat around the bush. I mean, if I continued to be late and make up stories, it wouldn't be long before the fat lady started to sing on my career.

"So," I said to my boss, "Let's call a spade a spade. I was late. I'm sorry. It won't happen again sir."

He said, "Son, you can't just continue to fly by the seat of your pants around here. I know there's more than one way to skin a cat, but your approach to your job is not going to cut it." I need you to come to work on time, go balls to the wall, every day. Gung-ho with reckless abandon. Time is money, son. I hope you've seen the light.

"Sir," I said, "I'm sorry my performance hasn't been up to snuff. And my blantant disregard for company policy must seem like a slap in the face to you. I screwed up."

"Max," he said, "I just thought it was time to lay down the law. You're a smart kid. An intregal cog in our company and we're counting on you to help put this company over the top. Just food for thought, son. This company doesn't have a snowball's chance in hell if we don't have everyone on the team get in the game. You've got to keep your eye on the ball, Max."

"You're right, sir," I said. "The sky's the limit! And I am determined not to rest on my laurels.

He replied, "I'm proud as a peacock of you, son. You're a good egg.

"Sir?" I asked. "Could we just kinda sweep this whole thing under the rug? I'd hate for mom to find out that I've been slacking...Dad."

"Okay, son," he replied. I'll keep it under my hat.

Like father like son, he thought.

LoganBuck
03-03-2006, 02:40 PM
My mom uses: "Better than sliced bread", I realize that I take the slice of Wonder for granted, but I would think a whole bunch of things were better than sliced bread.

I use "Can't see the forest for the trees." I understand it as someone who worries about minutae or auxillary matters, that don't address the problem.

One that my wife's Uncle seems to use alot: "That really blew her/his skirt up." I am assuming that showing ones naughty bits would be bad, but why is this used to describe something exciting or good? Perhaps I am being a bit naive.

max venable
03-04-2006, 12:53 AM
Here's one I've never understood. My P.E. teacher in H.S. used to say it all the time.

Colder than a witch's t*t.

Any explanations?

KronoRed
03-04-2006, 01:40 AM
That's one I don't think I want to know

max venable
03-30-2006, 05:58 PM
How 'bout this one:

"Can't win for losin'." :dunno:

That one never made sense to me. Can somebody shed some light?