What are some of the colloquial phrases that you and your family say, and/or the people in your area say?
What are colloquial phrases?
They are phrases made up of more informal, slang words. Phrases that people say to mean something other than the literal definition. A lot of times they are regional.
For example, to spill the beans doesn’t literally mean to spill beans. It means that someone is telling a secret, or telling something that they aren’t supposed to be telling. “Jan spilled the beans about the surprise party, now it’s not a surprise.”
In the South we have a phrase that we use when we’re planning something. We say, “Lord willing and the creek don’t rise”. This just means that we’re pretty sure we’ll be able to do something or go somewhere, but we aren’t 100% sure.
I said this one time about our creek at the farm where we kept our horses. We wanted to ride the next day and at the time it was pouring down rain. The creek was already up to the top edge of the bank. I said, “we can ride, Lord willing and the creek don’t rise”. It was the only time I’ve ever been able to use that phrase and it literally meant, if the creek doesn’t flood over the bank.
I’ve always enjoyed reading about where these different phrases and sayings come from. It’s sometimes hard to determine who said them first, and where they actually started, but it’s fun to read the stories. It’s also interesting to see how they have changed over the years.
Here are some of the other colloquial phrases that I use quite a bit, the meaning, and an example:
Take it with a grain of salt – Don’t necessarily believe every detail of what you hear about something; do your research before you really take what they say as the full truth. “She said her friend was the one who started the argument, but I take everything she says with a grain of salt.”
Don’t take it to heart – Don’t take what someone says personally. “He’s having a bad day, don’t take what he said to heart.”
Woke up on the wrong side of the bed – Someone who woke up in a bad mood. (I always used to wonder which side of the bed this was. Haha.) “You’re grumpy this morning, did you wake up on the wrong side of the bed?”
To each his own – Everyone has a right to do their own thing, in their own way; to believe their own things; to make their own mistakes. “I may not agree with it, but to each his own.”
All’s well that ends well – Things didn’t go as planned, but it all turned out good in the end. “The party planner was late, the flowers were the wrong color, and I spilled a drink on my dress. We all had fun though, so, all’s well that ends well.”
Hedge Your Bets – To avoid committing fully to something until you’re a little surer of the outcome. “I’m thinking of taking that job offer, but to hedge my bets I’m going to tell them I’ll let them know Monday.”
To Give Yourself Wiggle Room – Giving yourself extra time when you have to be somewhere; planning to have some extra money in case something costs more than you think it might.
“I’m leaving for my appointment at 4. The appointment isn’t until 5, but I want to give myself a little wiggle room in case there is a lot of traffic.”
“They said it would be $100, but I’m taking $150. I want to have a little wiggle room just in case.”
I’d love to hear some of the phrases that you use a lot? Also, what part of the country you live in, or what country you live in?