|Thanks to yorkshire_rose via Fanpop.com for photo.|
Here are a few examples:
Piece of cake - I use this phrase to mean that something is easy to do or take care of. According to my newfound genius website, this "expression originated in the Royal Air Force in the late 1930s for an easy mission, and the precise reference is as mysterious as that of the simile easy as pie." I think it means that eating your dessert is easy. The phrase "easy as a spear of asparagus" would not have the same zing to it, would it?
Spill the beans - It means to disclose a secret or prematurely divulge information. It seems to have originated from the saying to "spill blood" meaning destruction or ruination and was first recorded in 1919 as "spill the beans." I researched this further because the website didn't have as much on this idiom and my curiosity was piqued. Seems that in ancient Greece, members applying for secret societies were voted upon by having existing members drop either a white bean (for "yes") or a black bean (for "no") into a jar. If the jar was accidentally knocked over (or spilled), the vote was revealed prematurely.
Letting the cat out of the bag - I thought this had a similar meaning to "spill the beans" until I did my homework. This expression is from the mid-1700s, when dishonest merchants substituted a cat for a valuable pig, which was only discovered when the buyer got home and opened the bag. It's come to mean sharing a secret prematurely but it could mean something a bit more devious.
What are some common idioms that you use in everyday language? Why not look them up and post their true meaning in the comments section?