I wonder how many readers of my previous post realized that its title was an old expression dating back over 300 years. According to grammarphobia.com, BY GEORGE dates from a 1694 translation of a comedy by Platus: “By George, you shan’t be a Sowce the better for what’s in it”….but “George” was used in an expression even earlier, as here (from a 1598 Ben Johnson play): “Well! he knowes what to trust to, for George.” Here is a more recent (1964) example of “By George!” by Rex Harrison in the above-average film MY FAIR LADY, starring Harrison and Audrey Hepburn:
My larger point: the small percentage of people who know old adages and expressions — at least, that is my impression from watching game shows like JEOPARDY!, where supposed broadly-knowledgeable players almost invariably don’t know a familiar (to me) old saying when the question arises. You may say That’s easy for me to say, an old codger who was probably around before most old sayings started. Very funny. I resemble that remark — and I’m not the only one:
So much for idle rumors. If you’re so smart, let’s see how many of these old sayings you know at your tender age. No cheating. Remember, honesty is the best policy (why give insurance companies a legitimate excuse not to pay — they’ll give you a hard enough time on general principles). But just to keep you on your tokus, I’ll throw in several dishonest — I mean made-up — old aphorisms to see if you can separate the wheat from the shaft:
A fool and his money are soon parted.
A day late and a dollar early.
A man who is his own lawyer has a fool for a client.
Abstinence makes the heart grow fonder.
All work and no play makes Jack an ass.
Ask me no questions and I’ll tell you no lies.
Better late than never.
Blood is thicker than tomato soup.
Close but no cigar.
Close only counts in horseshit.
Curiosity killed the cat.
Do unto others before they do unto you.
The rest is yet to come….
….if I do a Part Two.