meaning and origin of ‘to make no bones about something’

MEANING   to have no hesitation in stating, or dealing with, something, however unpleasant or awkward it is   ORIGIN   Always used in the negative, this phrase dates back to the 16th century, originally as to make no bones at or in. It also occurred without a complement, as in its first recorded use, in The first tome or […]

Read More

origin of ‘one swallow does not make a summer’

MEANING   a single fortunate event doesn’t mean that what follows will also be good   ORIGIN   The annual migration of swallows to Europe from southern climes at the end of winter was the subject of a proverb in Ancient Greece: μία χελιδὼν ἔαρ οὐ ποιεῖ, in which ἔαρ means spring; it is found […]

Read More

meaning and origin of the phrase ‘at sixes and sevens’

The phrase at sixes and sevens means in a state of total confusion or disarray. Based on the language of dicing, the phrase was originally to set (all) on six and seven. It denoted the hazard of one’s whole fortune, or carelessness as to the consequences of one’s actions. From this earlier association with reckless behaviour came the idea that things in […]

Read More