But for some reasons, we know exactly what they mean, or at least, we get the gist.
“I’ve Got Your Back!” “For Pete’s sake!” “For the love of Mike!” “When pigs fly!” “Kick the Bucket!” “Spill the beans!”
Whatever else may be going on, I think I dreamed in idiomatic slang last night. Weird dreams!
Every language has them. Slang. Idioms. Maybe figurative, maybe literal. Phrases difficult to understand from another language group, but we use them all day long and are comfortable with them. Even when we don’t understand them completely. Source? A Greek word (idios) that essentially means, “one’s own”. Translated into Latin, idiom is often translated as “special property”. In other words, and to my interpretation, you can make up your own idiom and it belongs to you, and probably better interpreted by you. The author.
It is thought there are over 25,000 idioms in the English language alone. No wonder it’s a hard language to learn, and it’s constantly changing as words cross from one definition to another. What’s bad is that “bad” has at one time meant “good”!
For some reason, it caught my ear many years ago when I first heard it. “For the love of Mike!” Some say it is a euphemistic replacement for referencing God, especially in light of the Fourth Commandment to not take the Lord’s name in vain. Another says it is a reference to the archangel, “Michael” – mostly referenced in Daniel, Jude and Revelations.
Similarly, “For the love of Pete” may be related to Saint Peter. Again, attempting to soften the word usage of the Lord’s name and replacing it with another biblical reference.
Idioms are generally accepted speech, true, but the next time you are tempted to use one, consider this. Do you really know what you are saying? Can the hearer understand the idiom, especially if they are from another culture or language group? Can you translate it into normal English terms so there is no misunderstanding? Do you know what it the idiom means?
Okay? Go ahead. Don’t pull my leg. Instead lay your cards on the table, just don’t spill the beans! Else you may be required to kick the bucket. Or I’ll take you to the cleaners!