Slice of Life Story Challenge March 25 -Idioms -For Pete's Sake!

Idioms -for Pete's Sake!

A conversation this morning about the issues English language learners often encounter with idiomatic language made me think about the proliferation of sayings that include people’s names.

The more I thought it about, the more I realized how many there actually were. My parent’s generation used such terms quite extensively. Consequently, I grew up with such sayings being frequently bandied about. I hear them less frequently these days, but they are still out for Pete’s sake…

I appear to have opened a Pandora’s box of worms!

Name Dropper

My Dad knows lots of people
I reckon
He often tells me Bob’s your uncle
But I don’t know anyone called Bob

He believes Scott is great
He’s always saying
Great Scott!
He wants to rob Peter to pay Paul and I’m not sure why
He thinks Fanny Adams is sweet
And someone called Nelly is nervous
And Larry is happy
That’s great, but I don’t know Larry
Last week he told me to run like Billy O
How does Billy O run?
That’s what I want to know

Dad does a lot of things for a fellow called Pete Sake
And he thinks Alec is smart because he’s always saying
What a smart Alec he is
He thinks Ann is raggedy
And Simon is simple
Freddie is blind
But even he can see
Which I find a bit confusing

And somehow Johnny is on the spot
And Jack is in a box
Maybe it’s the same box Pandora owns
And Dad often says he doesn’t want to open
I find all this a bit confusing
So do my mates

Tom, Dick and Harry


  1. My dad was a Chatty Cathy who would snarl, "Move it, Charlie!" to slow cars in front of us. I heard Jeez Louise a lot too, and "Maybe, maybe Jean Marie," although I think that was a quote, as was "Mabel, Mabel well and able, get your elbows off the table."

    1. Love all of these Wendy, particularly, Mabel, Mabel... Thanks for adding to the mix.

  2. What fun! Heavens to Betsy! There are a lot of these idioms out there. Thanks for combining them into a delightful post and starting my day with a smile.

    1. My pleasure Molly. It was fun to compose and fun to consider the impact of these idiomatic terms. I was as happy as Larry writing this. Thanks for the reminder regarding dear old Betsy...

  3. I think you're on to a children's book idea! Clever and cute. You're also right about it being a generational conversation. ..we don't hear these as much now.

    1. Ah Cyndi, you might be onto something here. Idiomatic language is indeed suffering as language and terminology goes global in the digital age.

  4. Thank goodness there was no peeping Tom in your neighborhood! What a fun read, and there were several that I'd not heard of before. I've always wonder about idioms in other languages.

    1. The Tom reference alluded me Elsie. You make a good point to ponder regarding the use of idioms across the language divide. It would be interesting to explore this at some point. Glad you found this post amusing.

  5. These are great read! I realize how many of these I grew up with and still use once in awhile with kids looking at me in an odd way! Just way to funny!

    1. glad it made you happy Joanne. These terms float in our conversations and we tend to take them for granted. It was fun for me to bring them to the conscious surface.

  6. Ha, this was cute and sort of eye opening! Sometimes I forget that even my native English speakers aren't as familiar with some of these as I expect them to be.

    1. Many of these terms are fading from use as language becomes homogenized. Still, it's fun to think about their impact on many of us across time.

  7. Haha. I smile, chuckled, and then laughed as I read through your piece. What a wonderful delivery of name idioms connected all in one place with a touch of Greek mythology. If Jack would just get out of his box, he could become the Jack of all trades.

    1. Happy to have you feeling the fun of the piece Alice. Thanks for your contribution regarding Jack. Like it.


Post a Comment

Popular With Other Visitors

The Wonder of Wordplay

Launching Your Writing Program With Bold Intent in 2018

Learning How to 'Zoom In' When Writing

Helping Student Writers Find That Vital Spark of Inspiration

The Quest For Independence Among Student Writers