Tag Archives: origin of phrases

The Origin of Popular Phrases

Did you know where these phrases come from?

Straight Lacedvintage drawing of a corset

Ladies wore corsets, which would lace up in the front. A proper and dignified woman was ‘straight laced’ – she wore a tightly tied lace.


Early politicians required feedback from the public to determine what the people considered important. Since there were no telephones, TVs or radios, the politicians sent their assistants to local taverns, pubs and bars. They were told to ‘go sip some ale and listen to people’s conversations and political concerns.’ Many assistants were dispatched at different times. ‘You go sip here’ and ‘You go sip there.’ The two words ‘go sip’ were eventually combined when referring to the local opinion, and thus we have the term gossip.

Mind your P’s and Q’s

At local taverns, pubs and bars, people drank from pint and quart-sized containers. A bar maid’s job was to keep an eye on the customers and keep the drinks coming. She had to pay close attention and remember who was drinking in ‘pints’ and who was drinking in ‘quarts,’ hence the phrase ‘minding your ‘P’s and Q’s.’

Now you are smarter!