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June 02, 2008
Sometime ago in one of my blogs I mentioned several sayings that we use today and the origins of those sayings. I had people to tell me that these were interesting and asked if I have more that could be shared. Well, here are a few more that have been found.

Back in colonial days cards were the “thing” with which to entertain. A tax was levied when purchasing playing cards but it was only applicable to the ace of spades. To avoid this tax, people who purchased cards would only ask for a set of 51 cards. Most games, as you know, require 52 cards, so these people were thought to be stupid, dumb, or not all there. This is where the phrase “not playing with a full deck” began.

Many houses in colonial times had a room with only one chair. A long, wide board folded down from the wall and generally was used for dining. Where did the family sit for meals? Well, the head of the household always sat in the chair that was in the room while everyone else ate sitting on the floor. Now, if a guest was invited for a meal and this was usually a male, he would be asked to sit in the chair during the meal. This meant that the male guest was important, in charge of things. They called the person sitting in the chair the “chair man.” So, today in the business world, we use the expression “Chairman” or Chairman of the Board.”

In colonial days there were no cameras. One’s image was either sculpted or painted. Some of the paintings of George Washington showed him standing either behind a desk with one arm behind his back, while others of Washington showed both legs and both arms. Prices of the painters were not based on how many people were in the paintings, where they sat, or where they stood. Prices were determined by how many limbs were painted…as in arms and legs. Painting arms and legs would cost the client more than just painting the subject’s face. This is where the expression “it’ll cost you an arm and a leg” originated. People use these expressions all the time and never wonder about the expressions or phrases or where they originated. Who would have thought that some of the sayings that we all use today came from colonial times!

Pat Ross
“The Roots that make Us One are Stronger than the Branches that Divide Us.” Author Unknown








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