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There comes a time when you will hear something that does not sound very right when it comes to what other people are talking about. To you it sounds very wrong that no matter how many times you are trying to analyze the sentence, even if you were to do it on a word for word basis then you would still come up with an empty guess that would still not make any form of sense at all. What you may have heard is most likely what we call an idiomatic expression.
Idiomatic expressions are basically sayings that are quite common knowledge to most people but they could be different depending on the culture or the language. These expressions must never be taken literally as they are impossible in a sense, and they happen to contain a very different meaning. So we will be giving you some kid-friendly examples to show you the most simplest to understand idiomatic expressions that are known to mankind.
If you were to take this expression literally then you would think that cats and dogs are actually falling out of the sky and splattering the ground with blood and other internal body parts. However, the true meaning of this idiomatic expression is that it is actually just raining really hard outside. The first ever recorded use of a phrase similar to “raining cats and dogs” was in the 1651 collection of poems Olor Iscanus where the British poet, Henry Vaughan referred to a roof that was secure against “dogs and cats rained in shower.”
The literal meaning of this idiomatic expression just simply means that you see before you a piece of actual cake. But for those who are more familiar with the expression or believe they have the gist of what the speaker was talking about base on the context of the conversation, then “a piece of cake” simply means that the task that they have done or are about to do then for them is actually a very simple ordeal, and does not require much effort to accomplish. This idiom originated in the 1870’s when cakes were given out as prizes for winning competitions. In particular, there was a tradition in the US slavery states where slaves would circle around a cake at a gathering. The most “graceful” pair would win the cake in the middle. From this the term “cake walk” and “piece of cake” came into being, both meaning that something was easy to accomplish.
This idiomatic expression just makes it sound like it is describing someone or yourself that you or they happen to be just like flowers in terms of how fresh they seem. But the real meaning behind this idiomatic expression is that you are or someone who is actually full of energy and enthusiasm in order for you to do what you wish to do in a more upbeat manner. In Old English, daisies were referred to as “day’s eye” because at night the petals close over the yellow center and during the day they re-open. The phrase “as fresh as a daisy” originated from this, signifying that someone had a good night’s rest
When you hear this idiomatic expression then you are probably thinking that man’s best friend is just another man. In a way it is true but the true meaning of this is that the expression is referring to a dog. For many years, the majority of man has always found great companionship with canines especially since they were known to be very loyal since ages past. The origin of this expression is traditionally credited to the closing arguments made by lawyer George Graham Vest in a trial at the Johnson County Courthouse in Warrensburg, Missouri on September 23, 1870. The case was about a dog named Old Drum.
If you take this expression seriously then you are doing it wrong depending on what the context of the conversation was. The expression does not necessarily talk about the sweet tasting icing that is coated on the cake but rather it is talking about a situation which is already quite favorable, becoming even better than anyone could have predicted. It’s safe to say that the first time anyone used the idiom ‘Icing on the cake’ was sometime after 1769, when cakes became much more enjoyable thanks to the addition of fancy toppings.
This idiomatic expression sounds quite painful if you were to take this in a serious manner. The expression does not actually talk about somebody having thousands and thousands of ants in their pant,s but rather it is saying that the person is actually having difficulties trying to sit down on a chair or anything for the matter because that person is actually much too worried or way too excited about something and they can barely contain it. The expression derives from the earlier phrase ‘to have ants in one’s pants,’ which dates back to as far as World War II in America and seems to have first been recorded in humorist H. Allen Smith’s book ‘Putty Knife’ : ‘She dilates her nostrils a lot, the way Valentino used to do it in the silent movies to indicate that he had ants in his pants.
So these are the idiomatic expressions that should be simple enough for even children to get a grasp of. There are many more out there and understanding each one can be a fun adventure and help alleviate some forms of boredom. So go out there and discover more idiomatic expressions that you may wish to use someday soon.