Have you ever been described as “the laughing stock?” Do you want to know if this is a compliment or not? If this is the case then keep reading and this article will shed the light on the expression for you!
Unfortunately if you have been unlucky enough to be described as “the laughing stock” it does not have positive connotations. The idiom is used in order to describe someone as being the object of ridicule or mocking.
The first recorded use of this idiom dates to the 16th century. In 1533 John Frith coined the phrase in his “An other boke against Rastel.” This reads “Albeit … I be reputed a laughing stock in this world.”
It is suggested that the phrase relates to the fact that at this time people were often put in the stocks in order to be executed. This was of course a punishment which was not in the slightest bit funny but many attendees of executions would mock those who were being executed for the punishment they were receiving for the crimes they had committed. Consequently, the idea of being “the laughing stock” arose.
An example of the use of the expression can be found in a quote from Shakespeare’s ‘The Merry Wives of Windsor.’ The quote reads “Pray you let us not be laughing-stocks to other men’s humors; I desire you in friendship, and I will one way or other make you amends.”
The English idiom, “at the eleventh hour” is often used in conversation. It can seem rather confusing if you do not have prior knowledge of what it means.
The expression is used to denote the fact that something has happened at the very last possible minute. Other expressions with the same or very similar meanings are “late in the night” and “to burn the midnight oil.”
The reasoning behind this expression is that the “eleventh hour” is only 1 hour before the final hour on the clock and therefore if something is done at this time, it is done just before the clock “restarts,” so to speak.
The expression came into widespread use in the 19th century although it is suggested that it actually has it’s roots in the Bible, specifically in Matthew 20:9 which reads “and when they came that were hired about the eleventh hour they received every man a denarius.”
An example of the use of the expression can be found in a quote from Max Brooks who states “if you believe you can accomplish everything by “cramming” at the eleventh hour, by all means, don’t lift a finger now. But you may think twice about beginning to build your ark once it has already started raining”
This English expression is very commonly used, particularly in general day-to-day conversation. If you want to find out when and how to use it, read this article!
The idiom is used in order to denote the act of doing something in order to pass the time. The idea of “killing time” generally means that a person is bored and therefore spends their time doing something rather uninteresting simply to make the time pass a bit more quickly.
The first recorded use of this expression dates to 1777 in Richard Brinsley Sheridan’s, “The School for Scandal” which reads “Ay, I know there are a set of malicious, prating, prudent gossips, both male and female, who murder characters to kill time ….”
Although the idiom was used in the 18th century, it is not until the mid-19th century when it came into widespread use. It is used, for example, 3 times in “Moby Dick” by Herman Melville.
An example of the use of the expression can be found in a quote from Henry David Thoreau who is often quoted to have said “As if you could kill time without injuring eternity.”
This English expression is fairly commonly used but without knowledge of what it refers to, it would be difficult to decipher simply from the words! To find out how to use it and where it came from, keep reading!
This idiom is used in order to express the feeling of being overwhelmed or shocked by something. It generally refers to a negative emotion, such as when a person fails something they thought they would pass or when a relationship unexpectedly comes to an end.
The phrase is said to derive from the alternate expression “hit for six” which has it’s roots in the sport of cricket. This refers to the act of attainting the maximum number of six runs for each shot hit.
It is unclear when this expression was first used in a metaphorical sense rather than referring to cricket.
An example of the use of the expression can be found in the title of an article in the British newspaper, The Guardian. The article is entitled “The weekend cook: homemade satay will knock your Thai takeaway for six.” The article contains a recipe for a Thai dish which will apparently taste much better than a Thai takeaway, hence the use of this expression.