Figures of Speech

This passage details the history of a couple of common phrases.

Lexile Level: 1030L

Categories: History


How often do you use figures of speech when you're talking with friends? Have you said "I'm not going to stick my neck out for him" when a friend has asked for too big a favor? Figures of speech are the hand-me-downs of language, they are expressions that people coined so long ago that most of us have forgotten where they came from. "That's the ticket," which is a colorful way of simply saying yes, is actually a mispronunciation of the French word "etiquette." The expression used to be "that's etiquette," meaning it's the correct way of doing something. To "stick one's neck out" has a less pleasant origin. American farmers made up the saying in reference to stretching out a chicken's neck for the axe!


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