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10 common yet inaccurate sayings

10 Common Yet Inaccurate Sayings

Here are 10 common sayings that for one reason or another aren't very accurate.

Just because a phrase is used often, that doesn't mean it's true or even apropos.

Here are 10 common sayings that for one reason or another aren't very accurate:

Number 10: 'American as apple pie.'

Clearly, neither pie nor pastry-appropriate apples are foods exclusive to the US. In fact, neither of them even hails from the country -- both were transported here by the Pilgrims.

Number 9: 'Sweating like a pig.'

Pigs don't really sweat as they only have a few, poorly-working sweat glands. The saying actually comes from old iron smelting terminology, but chances are when most people say or hear the idiom, they envision perspiring farm animals.

Number 8: 'Hard as nails.'

Many nails aren't really all that hard. On the Mohs' scale, which measures the relative strength of materials, the typical steel nail only rates at a 5.5 out of 10. That means it's no match for a number of other substances, including unglazed porcelain and diamonds.

Number 7: 'Giving a cold shoulder.'

We've come to understand and use this as a way to say someone was unfriendly. Its origins are controversial but one theory says it's a reference to the practice of serving unwelcome visitors cold shoulder of mutton rather than a hearty, warm meal.

Number 6: 'Pleased as Punch.'

Sure, fruity beverages are great, but in this case Punch isn't a drink, it's a puppet. He was big in the 1800s and had a regular show where he would murder his wife, a policeman, and the Devil. He was always particularly overjoyed afterwards.

Number 5: 'Busting your chops.'

Now, it's all about giving or getting a tough time verbally, but back in the day it meant a full on physical assault. People then wore long sideburns called mutton chops, and the phrase is a reference to striking them.

Number 4: 'Eat like a bird.'

It's what people often say when describing somebody's light eating habits. In reality, birds are big eaters, consuming about double their body weight every day.

Number 3: 'Once in a blue moon.'

It's odd that this phrase is used to describe rare occurrences, as blue moons themselves are fairly common. They are the second full moon to appear in a month and show up every couple years or so.

Number 2: 'Straight as a die.'

Often taken to mean a straight line, the phrase really references the fact that dice don't lie. It was originally coined as a way to comment on one's honesty.

Number 1: 'Chew the fat.'

How this idiom came to mean chatting is unknown, but it is guessed that sailors were involved. When supplies were low and salt pork was the only thing left to eat, they'd sit around, chew the fatty snack, and talk about the tough times.

Which saying's origins are most surprising to you?

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Join the discussion

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dwtomczyk August 23 2014 at 12:31 PM

so when my wife calls me an dumbass it's not true?

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2 replies
dickn2000b dwtomczyk August 23 2014 at 2:14 PM

NO...it's true! You're a dumbass. Otherwise you would have never made your inane comment, and thusly open yourself up to replies like mine.

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randy822 dwtomczyk August 23 2014 at 4:56 PM


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Fran August 23 2014 at 10:38 AM

well nails usde to be hard until japan took over our steel industry..

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3 replies
ectullis August 23 2014 at 5:09 PM

Pigs dont sewat? tell that to hillary

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1 reply
Bill ectullis August 23 2014 at 7:18 PM

Actally more appropriate for Chris Cristy.

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1 reply
Brad Machado Bill August 23 2014 at 9:37 PM

Chris Cristy?

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countbillybob August 24 2014 at 12:07 AM

Unsurprisingly, these sayings originated, and were mindlessly propagated, by Caucasians.

Nowhere else in the human race, does a peoples commit such acts of degeneracy such as proliferating complete delusional bullsh*t..

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alspoolhall August 23 2014 at 11:32 AM

I don't think I'll be chewing the fat about this information except maybe once in a blue moon.

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Diana Polsky August 23 2014 at 10:41 PM

Who writes this stuff? Chops means the lower jaw of an animal (Old Middle English) and is a varient of chaps.It predates "mutton chops" by several huncred years. A die (origin 14th C) is a guide used to shape something. If the die is straight, so is the resulting object.

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ectullis August 23 2014 at 9:02 PM

But you can still put lipstick on a pig. Look at MO

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acfollowj August 23 2014 at 7:31 PM

Pigs are precious, I would have one as pet.

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Bill August 23 2014 at 7:17 PM

Busting my chops? That's just a polit eway of saying busting my B....s....extremely common in the northeast. Another similar is busting my onions. Same part of the body. These sayings ARE quite accurate...and common.

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twalsh4440 August 23 2014 at 6:39 PM

Where's his GEICO App

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