Dear friends, inevitably the longer we live in the UK and fit into their lifestyle, in their culture, we will meet English-language phrases whose meaning can not be found without prior knowledge. Today we will explain three of them, which we hope will facilitate communication and understanding of what is happening around. We also choose the phrases according to their interesting, sometimes unexpected origins.
Rag-and-bone man” – what is this? We can compare it to our bumps. Once in England, such a man, usually with a horse and a cart, has collected old clothes (rags) or bones, as well as any unusual objects. He sold them to retailers of second-hand goods, and the bones went to make glue. For the first time, reports of such wreckages are found in the early 19th century. They could be both men and women. For two London such rag-and-bone men tells the popular sixties and seventies in the UK series Steptoe and Son. With their images, the image of the Witchfork produces a far more romantic halo.
“We are not amused,” means something like “It was not funny,” and is an expression attributed to Queen Victoria by court maid Carolyn Holland in “The Notebook of a Noble Old Maiden,” written in 1919. According to her, the stables officer tried to tell a queer, sensational story on the table in front of the queen, and that was Victoria’s cool response. It is clear that the lady did not personally attend this reaction, so the credibility of the origin of the expression is questionable. But for all, it is known that in the second part of her life – after the death of her husband – Queen Victoria became far more closed, more formal and restrained. She begins to show affection for moral values and to mock the attempts to be entertained. The phrase is used ironically for unsuccessful jokes even today.
Have you heard about card-sharp? This is a person who has skills in playing cards or in cheating cards. It is also an expression for a person who makes a living by playing cards, but lying and manipulating the outcome of the game. The UK spelling requires a dash between words, while outside the kingdom can also be seen as cardsharp. Whether it was originally misunderstood, but the expression is also a card-shark (shark). Where and when did it come from?
It first appeared in 19th century publications in the United States and touches a picture of Michelangelo Merizi (known more as Caravaggio), painted in 1594. It features card players. Today the picture is known as The Cardsharps. Of course, the original was not baptized in English, but two expressions of 17c – sharping and sharking mean almost the same – stealing, twisting, embezzling. The phrase goes into the American press and is probably spreading to other English-speaking countries.
Dear Friends, Training centre Raya has the ambition not only to be the place where you will begin your English and English grammar. We would also like to invite your interest in English culture and tradition through articles in our blog. In our opinion, learning a language is not just a set of rules and spelling. Every language has its deeply encoded historical and semantic information, and through it we would like to be intrigued by you for further development of knowledge.
Keep track of our English articles and its peculiarities! We look forward to your ratings and wishes for new topics!
Author Iveta Radeva