Why do we say that?

Slang, jargon, clichés, and other sayings fill our language. For those who grew up speaking English, we don’t usually question why we say what we do, but everything has an origin. Here is the background on a few miscellaneous words and phrases we often use in everyday speech:

Howdy – from “How do ye?” or “How do ye do?”

Break the ice – from having to clear a path for ships to travel

Goodbye – from “God be with ye” which got shortened and changed over time

Caught red-handed – literally from being apprehended with blood on one’s hands

Eat humble pie – comes from people of lower standing in the Middle Ages being fed pie made from “umbles,” or offal

Show your true colors – comes from warships having to display their countries flag/colors before opening fire

Sleep tight – prior to the box spring, mattresses were held to the bed frame by ropes, which needed to be tight to prevent uncomfortable sagging

Give the slip – comes from a sailing term (had to do with quieter method than weighing anchor)

Pan out – comes from gold prospecting

Hit the hay – from mattresses stuffed with hay

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