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Sick Sayings: Where’d They Come From?

"Sick As A Dog"

We’ve all heard them – or even used them – before. Sayings like: “I’ve got butterflies in my stomach,” “It’s nothing to sneeze at,” and “She’s feeling under the weather.” But why do we say these things and where did these health-related sayings come from? Read on to find out!

Butterflies In Your Stomach

Of course, there really aren’t any butterflies or moths flying around in your stomach when you get this fluttery feeling inside. This is a way of describing the nervous feeling you may get before taking a test or going on stage. These tummy flutters are totally normal and happen to just about everyone.

By The Skin Of Your Teeth

If you pass your math quiz by just a few marks or win your race by a nose, you may say you did so by the skin of your teeth. In other words, you barely made it. Of course, your teeth don’t have any skin on them, but if they’re feeling sort of filmy, it may be time for a brush!

Give Your Right Arm For Something

If you’d give your right arm for something, it’s a way of saying you really, really want it.

Have Your Heart In Your Throat

This saying means you’re really scared or nervous about something that’s about to happen. The ancient Greek poet Homer used the same phrase thousands of years ago in his famous epic, The Iliad. The good news is, your heart can’t really jump up to your throat – or anywhere else – no matter how anxious you get. It will definitely stay put in your chest!

Keep Your Chin Up

If you’re sad or depressed, you may find yourself looking down or dropping your head down so your chin is on your chest. A chin held high shows confidence and optimism, so the next time something happens to upset you or make you feel down, keep your chin up and stay positive!

Make No Bones About It

If you’re making no bones about something, it means you’re telling the truth and being honest. This expression dates back to the 1500s – some people think it had something to do with soup. If there weren’t any bones in a soup, you could swallow it down without worrying about choking. In other words, when you’re being totally honest, people can “swallow” what you’re saying more easily.

Nothing To Sneeze At

This saying’s been around since the early 1800s and may have come from the idea that someone might turn up his or her nose at something unimportant or not worth his or her time. When you say something’s “nothing to sneeze at,” you’re saying it’s actually pretty important. For example, placing second at your cheerleading competition is nothing to sneeze at. It may not be first place, but it sure is a huge accomplishment!

Shape Up Or Ship Out

If you hear someone saying this to you, it’s time you make some changes. Your behavior or performance isn’t living up to their expectations. This is actually a military command. When a soldier was told to “shape up or ship out,” it meant he needed to do a better job if he didn’t want to be sent to a combat zone. So get it together – or get out!

Sick As A Dog

People use this expression to describe someone who’s very sick. It may have something to do with the fact that dogs will eat just about anything – and some of the things they swallow make them feel pretty sick!

Under The Weather

A grey and rainy day makes many people feel pretty icky. As such, this expression comes from the idea that bad weather can affect your health or mood.

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Comments

wreastlingfan619
o_o
commented: Fri Feb 15, 2013

brunostar

brunostar wrote:

0.0
commented: Fri Feb 15, 2013

ikat12

ikat12 wrote:

I know some of them...I've always wondered how they came about though!
commented: Tue Jan 08, 2013

there are 3 more comments

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