It’s been a while since I blogged about an idiom, so I selected “Pleased as Punch” and “Horse of a Different Color” for today. Idioms come and go, usually without notice. Then, one day, you think about one and realize you haven’t heard it said in a long time. It’s probably been replaced by a new one.
“Pleased as Punch”
“Pleased as Punch” is a saying I heard growing up, but I can’t remember the last time I’ve heard it. It’s probably been decades. I had no idea how it came about. I thought it was just an example of alliteration that caught on as a saying.
I also didn’t know that “Punch” was supposed to be capitalized. Again, I thought it came about only because “Pleased” and “Punch” both started with the same, strong “P” sound. Shows what I knew.
I recently learned that this idiom dates back to the mid-1800s and the character named Punch in the Punch and Judy shows. According to The American Heritage dic-tion-ar-y of Idioms,by Christine Ammer, Punch “is always happy when his evil deeds succeed.” (Images of a smiling Donald J. Trump, Sr. come to mind.)
Now, I know, and so do you. File this tidbit away in case you’re ever a contestant on “Jeopardy” or “The Chase.”
“Horse of a Different Color”
This idiom popped into my head last week, and I realized I hadn’t heard it said in quite some time. Curious about its origins, I reached for my trusty reference book, The American Heritage dic-tion-ar-y of Idioms,by Christine Ammer, which I purchased for either fifty cents or a dollar several years ago when the public library was drastically weeding its collection.
The saying, “Horse of a Different Color” or “Horse of Another Color” means, “Another matter entirely, something else,” according to Ms. Ammer’s book.
She goes on to say that, “This term probably derives from a phrase coined by Shakespeare, who wrote, ‘a horse of that color’ (Twelfth Night, 2:3), meaning ‘the same matter’ rather than a different one. By the mid-1800s the term was used to point out difference rather than likeness.”
It seems we don’t hear as many idioms as we used to. Is that a result of the homogenization of American English? Society presses us to drop our regional accents. As a southerner, I’ve felt that, and it makes me sad. I think our regional differences in our speaking make the United States a more interesting place to live. I hate to see us losing those little differences. I hear it in the voices of my great-nieces who live in Georgia. My accent is much more southern than theirs even though they have lived in Georgia their entire lives. It makes me sad.
Since my last blog post
My blog post today is short and light-hearted because I’ve been spending every spare minute (when not reading!) to work on my family genealogy. My sister and I are working on a project that we want to finish this fall. Time is not on our side!
Until my next blog post
I hope you have one or more good books to read and a rewarding and relaxing hobby.
Make time to read and enjoy that hobby. And, by all means, make time to enjoy family and friends.
Remember the people of Ukraine and Uvalde, Texas.