To take the lion’s share is to take the larger part or even the majority of what is to be apportioned out.
There are many tales from ancient times that tell of a group of animals going hunting and the lion using his strength and position as king to claim all the spoils.
The story is [more…]
Crocodile tears are insincere displays of emotion such as feigning sympathy at your opponents’ team losing a match.
In ancient times it was reported and believed that crocodiles put on sad looks and sighed sorrowfully to lure their prey. Moments later they would devour the naïve innocent party and weep (with delight?) while munching on [more…]
Eau de water!
Eau de is French for ‘water of’. I’m sure you have heard of, or even sprayed, eau de toilette or eau de parfum. In English the idea of ‘toilet water’ sends school children into sniggers, but toilette is the process of washing oneself, dressing and taking care of one’s appearance, so splashing [more…]
The term NICKELODEON was first used to mean a theatre where a motion picture could be seen for five cents, or a nickel. The –odeon is thought to come from the keyboard instrument, the melodeon, which also was used as a name for a music hall. Odeon was also the name of a [more…]
Portrait of Art Samuels, Charlie MacArthur, Harpo Marx, Dorothy Parker and Alexander Woollcott (source: Wikipedia)
New York’s Round Table
“Three things shall I have till I die,
Laughter and hope and a sock in the eye.”
So wrote Dorothy Parker, one of a group of writers who in 1919 began to meet for lunch in a New York [more…]
Fish with bite!
Their powerful jaws, frenzied feeding action and ability to quickly reduce their prey to a bare skeleton, have made these voracious fish popular cartoon and movie metaphors for foul play, greed and evil.
In the James Bond classic, You Only Live Twice, there is a gruesome scene where the evil Blofeld tosses a [more…]
Blowing in the wind
The world’s winds have wonderfully evocative names. The khamsin blows in Egypt for fifty dry, dusty days from late April. The chinook, named after a Native American tribe, blows a warm, dry wind through the Rocky Mountains. The mistral, meaning master wind, blows strong and cold through Southern France and the [more…]
Juan Belmonte, Antonio Ordonez and El Cordobes are names of great matadors. A matador, dressed ornately in a gold embroidered silk jacket, faces the bull in the ring, on foot, with no weapon but his cape. The more risks that are taken by the matador, the happier the crowd.
A horseback bullfighter is a PICADOR. [more…]
Toff – ‘a rich or upper class person’.
University dress includes an academic cap, or mortarboard, with a black tassel. At Oxford and Cambridge from around the 1600s the titled young undergraduates began to wear gold tassels, known as tufts, as a mark of their superior status.
As often happens with language, the word’s usage [more…]