It can be nice to look back and remember the past.
It was a simpler time back then. And they just don’t make things like they used to!
Reminiscing on the past is great for understanding how things used to be. But did you know it is also a great tool for understanding what is happening today?
This compilation by Flo Deems of ToneByTone shows how we get a lot of our modern phrases and customs based on how life was “way back when.” And some of these are quite shocking!
Scroll through below for a word-for-word re-posting of Deems awesome list. Some of these will make you smile, and some may make you rethink all those old sayings and traditions that you might still use today!
“The floor was dirt. Only the wealthy had something other than dirt. Hence the term, ‘dirt poor.’
The wealthy had slate floors that would get slippery in the winter when wet, so they spread thresh (straw) on the floor to help keep their footing.
As the winter wore on, they added more thresh until, when you opened the door, it would all start slipping outside. A piece of wood was placed in the entrance-way.
Hence, ‘a thresh hold.’”
“Most people got married in June because they took their yearly bath in May, and they still smelled pretty good by June.
However, since they were starting to smell, brides carried a bouquet of flowers to hide the body odor.
Hence the custom today of carrying a bouquet when getting married.”
“They used to use urine to tan animal skins, so families used to all pee in a pot. Once a day it was taken and sold to the tannery.
If you had to do this to survive, you were ‘piss poor.’
But worse than that were the really poor folks who couldn’t even afford to buy a pot. They ‘didn’t have a pot to piss in’ and were considered the lowest of the low.”
“Lead cups were used to drink ale or whisky. The combination would sometimes knock the imbibers out for a couple of days.
Someone walking along the road would take them for dead and prepare them for burial.
They were laid out on the kitchen table for a couple of days and the family would gather around and eat and drink and wait and see if they would wake up.
Hence the custom of holding a ‘wake.’”
“In old, small villages, local folks started running out of places to bury people.
So they would dig up coffins and would take the bones to a bone-house, and reuse the grave.
When reopening these coffins, 1 out of 25 coffins were found to have scratch marks on the inside, and they realized they had been burying people alive.
So they would tie a string on the wrist of the corpse, lead it through the coffin and up through the ground and tie it to a bell.
Someone would have to sit out in the graveyard all night (‘the graveyard shift’) to listen for the bell.
Thus, someone could be ‘saved by the bell,’ or was considered a ‘dead ringer.’
Now, whoever said history was boring?”
–Viral Internet piece, as compiled by Flo Deems of ToneByTone
This wonderful piece about things “back in the day” is a great reminder of our rich history and how far we have come.
Do you use any of these sayings? Did you know these origins already, or have you heard another story? Let us know in the comments.
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