How do familiar slang words get their start? For a little fun, let’s see if you know the meaning of these:
Pass the Buck: Meaning: Giving responsibility to someone else. In the frontier of America, poker players would pass a buckhorn handled knife from player to player to show whose turn it was to deal.
From Soup to Nuts: Means everything. Listing the first and last courses of a meal indicates the whole deal. This phrase became soup to nut because many meals began with soup and ended in a dessert with nuts.
On Cloud Nine: Means having a feeling of well being or euphoria. Came about when the U.S. weather bureau divided cloud formations into nine categories. Cloud Nine is higher than any other.
Murphy’s Law: If something can go wrong, it will. This slang expression is named for an engineer on a U.S. military project that went wrong during testing.
Come hell or high water: Means to go forward despite the obstacles. Came about in the U.S. when cattlemen drove their herds through high water at every river and the hell in between.
Knuckle down: Get to work and do your best. The term comes from the game of marbles. The knuckle has to be on the ground exactly at the spot where your previous marble ended up.
Three Dog Night. This is a good one! It means a night that is very cold. It was often said when cowboys were out on the range. They often slept with their dogs to keep warm. A three-dog night means a very cold night.
Buying the farm. This means to die. If a soldier was killed in combat in WWII, his family was given a death benefit that was enough money to pay off their mortgage of the family farm.
Everything but the kitchen sink. Means everything imaginable. Expression came during WWII when everything possible was need to contribute to the war effort. The only object left out was the porcelain kitchen sink.