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Quit Buggin Me!

There are many American expressions about insects -- like bees, for example. Bees are known as very hard workers. They always appear to be busy, moving around their homes, or hives. So you might say you were as busy as a bee if you spent your weekend cleaning your house. In fact, you might say your house was a beehive of activity if your whole family was helping you clean.

 You also might say you made a beeline for something if you went there right away. When we go to see a movie, my friend always makes a beeline for the place where they sell popcorn.


A Bad Taste in my Mouth

People use their mouths for many things. They eat, talk, shout and sing. They smile and they kiss. In the English language, there are many expressions using the word mouth.

But some of them are not so nice.

For example, if you say bad things about a person, the person might protest and say Do not badmouth me!

Sometimes, people say something to a friend or family member that they later regret because it hurts that persons feelings. Or they tell the person something they were not supposed to tell. The speaker might say I really put my foot in my mouth this time. If this should happen, the speaker might feel down in the mouth. In other words, he might feel sad for saying the wrong thing.


It's Not Worth a Hill of Beans!

In the early days of human history, people survived by hunting wild animals or gathering wild grains and plants for food. Then, some people learned to grow crops and raise animals for food. They were the first farmers.

Since the 16th century, the word farm has meant agricultural land. But a much older meaning of the word farm is linked to economics. The word farm comes from the Latin word firma, which means an unchanging payment.

Experts say the earliest meaning of the English word farm was a yearly payment made as a tax or rent.


Your Idea Will Not Wash. And, Let's Talk Turkey!

Young Mr. Smith had an idea for his employer. It was an idea for saving money for the company by increasing prices. At the same time, Smith suggested that the company sell goods of less value.

If his employer liked the idea, Smith might be given more pay. Perhaps he might even get a better job with the company.

Business had been very slow, so Mr. Smiths employer thought a few minutes about the idea. But then she shook her head. I am sorry, Smith, his employer said. It just will not wash.


Keeping Your Head Above Water


Expressions about water are almost as common as water itself. But many of the expressions using water have unpleasant meanings.

The expression to be "in hot water is one of them. It is a very old expression. Hot water was used 500 years ago to mean "being in trouble." One story says it got that meaning from the custom of throwing extremely hot water down on enemies attacking a castle.

That no longer happens, but we still get in hot water. When we are in hot water we are in trouble. It can be any kind of trouble -- serious or not so serious. A person who breaks a law can be in hot water with the police. A young boy can be in hot water with his mother if he walks in the house with dirty shoes.


Don't Let the Cat out of the Bag

Different people have different ways of saying things -- their own special expressions.

Each week we tell about some popular American expressions.

The bag is one of the most simple and useful things in the world. It is a container made of paper or cloth. It has given the world many strange expressions that are not very simple. Some of them are used in the United States today.

One is bagman. It describes a go-between. The go-between sees to it that money is passed -- often illegally -- from one person to another.


Let's Get Down to Brass Tacks!

Our expression today is getting down to brass tacks. It means to get serious about something, to get to the bottom of the situation. For example, a man may say, I want to work for you. But how much will you pay me? He is getting down to brass tacks. Or a woman may ask, You say you love me. Will you marry me? She, too, is getting down to brass tacks.

How did this expression get started?

There are several ideas...


Elvis, Marilyn Monroe, Trains, Cats and Dogs -- They're All on Calendars

The New Year is the time for new beginnings. It is also the time to buy a new calendar. Yet it can take a lot of time just to choose the right one. There are lots and lots of choices. In fact, there are more calendars than days in the year. There are small ones. Big ones. Calendars that sit on a desk. Calendars that hang on the wall. Calendars to carry around. Calendars that show a whole month or one day at a time.

Of course, in one way all calendars are the same. They all list the same days of the year in exactly the same order. But people do not buy calendars just to know what day it is. Calendars have become popular gifts because many are filled with beautiful pictures


Brrrrrrrr! Cold Enough For Ya?

Cold weather has a great effect on how our minds and our bodies work.  Maybe that is why there are so many expressions that use the word cold.

 For centuries, the body's blood has been linked closely with the emotions.  People who show no human emotions or feelings, for example, are said to be cold-blooded.  Cold-blooded people act in cruel ways.  They may do brutal things to others, and not by accident.
For example, a newspaper says the police are searching for a cold-blooded killer.  The killer murdered someone, not in self-defense, or because he was reacting to anger or fear.  He seemed to kill for no reason, and with no emotion, as if taking someone's life meant nothing.


Heart to Heart: Some Heartfelt Expressions

 We will try to get to the heart of the matter to better- understand the most important things about words and their stories. So take heart. Have no fear about learning new expressions. Besides, popular English words can be fun. There is no need for a heavy heart. Such feelings of sadness would only break my heart, or make me feel unhappy and hopeless.

Now, let us suppose you and I were speaking freely about something private. We would be having a heart-to-heart discussion. I might speak from the bottom of my heart, or say things honestly and truthfully. I might even open up my heart to you and tell a secret. I would speak with all my heart, or with great feeling.


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