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Do You Have a Broken Heart? A Heart of Stone?

People believed for a long time that the heart was the center of a persons emotions. That is why the word "heart" is used in so many expressions about emotional situations.

One such expression is to lose your heart to someone. When that happens, you have fallen in love. But if the person who won your heart does not love you, then you are sure to have a broken heart. In your pain and sadness, you may decide that the person you loved is hard-hearted, and in fact, has a heart of stone.


Have Your Heard of the Golden Rule?

Throughout history, gold has been a sign of purity, beauty and powerCalling something "golden" means it has great quality and value.
For example, the golden rule is possibly the worlds most widespread moral rule.  It says people should treat others the way they themselves would like to be treatedEvery major religion has its own version of this idea.
The golden ratio is found in art, architecture and nature.  It describes a rectangle with a length about one and one-half times its width.  Objects using this ratio in their design seem to please the eye more than others.


Heard It Through the Grapevine

Some of the most exciting information comes by way of the grapevine. That is so because reports received through the grapevine are supposed to be secret. The information is all hush hush. It is whispered into your ear with the understanding that you will not pass it on to others. You feel honored and excited. You are one of the special few to get this information. You cannot wait. You must quickly find other ears to pour the information into. And so, the information - secret as it is begins to spread. Nobody knows how far. The expression by the grapevine is more than 100 years old.


Chip on your Shoulder

Some popular expressions are a mystery -- no one issure how they developed.

One of these is the expression carry a chip on your shoulder. A person with a chip on his shoulder is a problem for anybody who must deal with him. He seems to be expecting trouble. Sometimes he seems  o be saying Im not happy about anything, but what are you going to do about it?
A chip is a small piece of something, like a chip of wood. How did this chip geton a persons shoulder? Well, experts say the expression appears to havebeen first used in the United States more than 100 years ago.


Get Your Kick with Words

From birth to death, the word kick has been given animportant part in expressing human experience. Theproud and happy mother feels the first signs of lifekicking inside her womb. And that same life -- manyyears later -- comes to its end in a widely-usedexpression, to kick the bucket, meaning to die.


Hold Up or Held Up?

Cant hold a candle to is a popular expression. It is from the time before electricity, when people used candles for light. Someone who lived in a big house would have a servant light his way by holding a candle. The expression meant that the person who cannot hold a candle to you is not fit even to be your servant. Now, it means such a person cannot compare or compete. In the following song, singer Dolly Parton tells her new love that her old flames, her old lovers, cannot compare with him
Another expression is hold your tongue. It means to be still and not talk. Hold your tongue is not something you would tell a friend. But a parent or teacher might use the expression to quiet a noisy child.



The word  "belittle"  was first used by Thomas Jefferson, the third president of the United States.

Many years ago, a French naturalist, the Count de Buffon, wrote some books about natural history. The books were a great success even though some critics did not like them. Some critics said, Count Buffon is more of a poet than a scientist.

Thomas Jefferson did not like what the Count had said about the natural wonders of the New World. It seemed to Jefferson that the Count had gone out of his way to speak of natural wonders in America as if they were unimportant.


Bigwig and Top Banana

Some expressions describe people who are important -- or who at least think they are. One such expression is bigwig.

In the 17th century, important men in Europe began to wear false hair, called wigs. As years passed, wigs began to get bigger. The size of a man's wig depended on how important he was. The more important he was -- or thought he was -- the bigger the wig he wore. Some wigs were so large they covered a man's shoulders or back.

Today, the expression "bigwig" is used to make fun of a person who feels important. People never tell someone he is a bigwig. They only use the expression behind his back.


Mayday! Mayday! Mayday!

"Mayday" is an emergency code word. It is used around the world in voice communications. You might see a war movie in which an airplane has been hit by rocket fire. The pilot gets on his radio and calls mayday, mayday, mayday to tell that his plane is in danger of crashing to the ground.

Mayday has nothing to do with the month of May. It comes from the French expressions venez m'aider, or m'aidez, which mean help me.


Let's Play Ball!

American English is full of colorful expressions. One such expression is to "touch all bases." It comes from the sport of baseball.

There are four bases in baseball -- first, second and third. The fourth is home plate. Together, the bases form a diamond shape. When a baseball player hits the ball, he must run to each base -- in order -- and touch it with his foot. It is the only way to score a point. If the player hits the ball and fails to touch all the bases, the point will not be counted.


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