Tuesday, September 13, 2011
Fun With Idioms
I overheard an old and colorful idiom today: "When you met me, you didn't know me from the man in the moon." Here's a cool thing I like to do: go to Google Books and type in any idiom and then see how far back it goes. This particular one appears in a book from 1866, Hugh Bryan: The Autobiography of an Irish Rebel, by Hugh Bryan. A slight variation, with "you" instead of "me" takes us to 1851 and a periodical named The United States Magazine and Democratic Review. And the idiom still appears on the streets of Chicago in 2011. At the same time, the reason it caught my attention is because I don't hear it often and I feel like the phrase is on its way out. Who knows, I may have witnessed the last time this idiom was spoken colloquially. I mean, there is always that final, unrecorded time an idiom is uttered.