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3
votes
1answer
115 views

Meaning of: “The trouble ain't that there is too many fools, but that the lightning ain't distributed right”

This is a Mark Twain aphorism: The trouble ain't that there is too many fools, but that the lightning ain't distributed right. This is apparently intended to be easily understood, but the ...
0
votes
0answers
36 views

What’s the original version of “I see, said the blind man as he picked up his hammer and saw”? [duplicate]

What is the original saying of I see said the blind man as he picked up his hammer and saw.
8
votes
2answers
521 views

Beggars on Horseback

Near the end of Book I, chapter 17 of Our Mutual Friend, Charles Dickens writes: There are the beggars on horseback too, in another sense from the sense of the proverb. These are mounted and ready ...
6
votes
1answer
4k views

Where does the phrase of “boredom punctuated by moments of terror” come from?

I have often seen war described as "interminable boredom punctuated by moments of terror," or some variant thereof. More recently, it seems that I have been hearing this phrase used to describe other ...
6
votes
7answers
1k views

Meaning of “Butter is Gold in the Morning, Silver at Noon, and Lead at Night.”

In his book A Complete Collection of Scottish Proverbs: Explain'd and Made Intelligible to the English (1721), James Kelly offers this interesting saying (page 74, #138): "Butter is Gold in the ...
5
votes
5answers
652 views

Phrase which describes falsely improving something

Is there an aphorism or proverb in English which describes attempting to improve something fundamentally flawed by dressing it with a lot of ornament?
13
votes
2answers
416 views

What is the name for the inverse of an aphorism

For example, given a common saying or sequence of words, like A picture is worth a thousand words One reverses the order and obtains A word is worth a thousand pictures Is there a name for ...
2
votes
4answers
1k views

Aphorism or not? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Difference between phrase and idiom Is there a name for phrases which without context (cultural, historic, etc.) would not be understandable. Such as "This is not my ...
8
votes
6answers
730 views

Is there an aphorism for doing a self-defeating act?

Is there a witty turn of phrase that indicates one's performing an act that, in its doing, undermines, contravenes, or obviates itself? This question relates to a similar idea, but I have it in my ...
4
votes
5answers
17k views

Origin of the phrase “third time's the charm” / “third time lucky”?

What would the origin of the saying "Third time's the charm" ? I've also heard it used as "third time lucky" ....Does anyone know if they are related ?
6
votes
3answers
20k views

“Money for rope” … meaning and derivation?

I was listening to John Lennon's song "Gimme Some Truth" just now, and in it there's a recurring line: ". . . money for rope." I never thought about it much before, but it strikes me this has ...