Tag Archives: phrase

Phrase Trivia

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The expression “three dog night” originated with the Eskimos and means a very cold night – so cold that you have to bed down with three dogs to keep warm.

The phrase “raining cats and dogs” originated in 17th Century England. During heavy downpours of rain, many of these poor animals unfortunately drowned and their bodies would be seen floating in the rain torrents that raced through the streets. The situation gave the appearance that it had literally rained “cats and dogs” and led to the current expression.

The term “dog days” has nothing to do with dogs. It dates back to Roman times, when it was believed that Sirius, the Dog Star, added its heat to that of the sun from July3 to August 11, creating exceptionally high temperatures. The Romans called the period dies caniculares, or “days of the dog.”

Happy Hour
The term originated in the United States Navy. In the 1920s, “happy hour” was Navy slang for on-ship performances. “Happy” in this context means slightly drunk.

Flea Market
Flea market comes from the French marché aux puces, a name originally given to a market in Paris. The fleas were thought to be in the goods, because they were of the kind to attract vermin. The earliest English use we have found dates from 1922.

Writer’s Block
writer’s block n. A usually temporary psychological inability to begin or continue work on a piece of … In some cases, writer’s block may also come from feeling intimidated by a previous big success, the creator putting on him/herself a paralyzing pressure to find something to equate that same success again