English expressions from ancient times

Jan 2017
1,309
Durham
No one says that anymore though. These days, it's between a rock and a "hard place" (what an utterly ludicrous saying that is).
That's an American saying, not an English saying. Yes, we do use this term but its origins are in the United States.
 
Jan 2017
1,309
Durham
Achilles heel and Midas' touch.

Beyond the pale I think is referring to the area too far from Dublin to be under English control and thus savage country
'Beyond the pale' is still used here in the North East and probably nowhere else in the country.

It's meaning is derived from Eastern European, the pale settlement, where Jews were forbidden from areas outside of the pale settlement.

So, if something is not appreciated, then it's beyond the pale.
 
Jan 2017
1,309
Durham
It is what it is. (At the end of the day).

You can't lose what you never had. (But you can have what you never lose.)

Better late than never. (But before the cows come home.)
I doubt that "it was it is" is an English term. That sounds very American to me.

"Before the cows come home" is still widely used here in the North East. But, it's always in the sense of accentuating a point. Such as: "he's useless, we'd be here until the cows come home before he puts the ball in the back of the net".
 
Jan 2017
1,309
Durham
There are a loads of old English sayings derived from the bible, such as the blind leading the blind.
 

Moros

Ad Honorem
Jun 2012
3,094
To be a doubting Thomas - from the Biblical figure of Thomas the apostle who was skeptical about the resurrection of Jesus.
To fiddle while Rome burns - from the notion that Nero played a musical instrument whilst Rome burned in 64 AD.
 

Naomasa298

Forum Staff
Apr 2010
35,259
T'Republic of Yorkshire
'Beyond the pale' is still used here in the North East and probably nowhere else in the country.

It's meaning is derived from Eastern European, the pale settlement, where Jews were forbidden from areas outside of the pale settlement.

So, if something is not appreciated, then it's beyond the pale.
Are you sure that's the origin? The Pale was also a term for the areas under English control in Ireland.
 
Aug 2011
169
The Castle Anthrax
Crossing/to cross the Rubicon.
A Herculean effort.
A Sisyphean pursuit.
What about bloody? I have often wondered if Exodus 4:26 is the source of using bloody as a pejorative.
 

Davidius

Ad Honorem
Dec 2010
4,993
Pillium
'Beyond the pale' is still used here in the North East and probably nowhere else in the country.
It is common throughout the UK, being used more often in middle and upper class strata of society.

It’s origin lies in the Dublin pale (palisade), beyond which only the wild, savage country dwellers lived.
 

Willempie

Ad Honorem
Jul 2015
5,395
Netherlands
Are you sure that's the origin? The Pale was also a term for the areas under English control in Ireland.
That's how it was explained to me in any case. And having read up on medieval Ireland lately it does make sense.