Origins of Common English Idioms and Phrases

TLDR This episode explores the origins of common English idioms and phrases, such as "break a leg," "throwing the baby out with the bathwater," "raining cats and dogs," "Devil's Advocate," "turn a blind eye," and "to go the whole nine yards," shedding light on their historical and linguistic roots.

Timestamped Summary

00:00 The English language is full of quirky idioms and phrases, and this episode explores the origins of common English words and phrases.
02:05 This episode explores the origins of idioms in the English language, which are common phrases or expressions with figurative meanings that may not make sense to non-native speakers.
03:44 The phrase "break a leg" originated in the context of theater in the 1930s, while "throwing the baby out with the bathwater" has a German origin and was first used in English by Thomas Carlyle in the 19th century.
05:22 The phrase "raining cats and dogs" has obscure origins, possibly related to the drainage system in cities during the Middle Ages, but it could also be a nonsense expression; on the other hand, the phrase "Devil's Advocate" has a clear origin as a literal position in the Catholic Church for determining someone's sainthood.
07:06 The position of Devil's Advocate was created in 1587 as a counter to those advocating for sainthood, and although it was abolished in 1983, the phrase "Devil's Advocate" is still used in English today; the phrase "turn a blind eye" has a false origin attributed to Admiral Horatio Nelson, but it was actually used before 1801, with the earliest known use dating back to 1698.
08:57 The origin of the phrase "to go the whole nine yards" is unknown, but it could be literal or have origins in dressmaking or nautical terms, and it was thought to be related to the amount of ammunition used in fighter aircraft during World War II, but older references to "going the whole six yards" suggest that it may not be measuring anything at all.
10:46 The phrase "the whole nine yards" may be an example of idiom inflation, where the key is the word "whole" rather than the number nine, and there is still no definitive proof of its origin.
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