Knock It Off, and Other Idioms in Historical Context


Ad Honoris
May 2014
"Beyond the Pale" - we've discussed this one several times on Historum. The Pale was the area controlled by the English in Ireland, and anything outside those borders was "beyond the Pale".
There was also a Pale of Settlement in Russia--with the territories east of this Pale likewise being beyond the Pale.
Aug 2019
New York
“Stick-in-the-mud” - an idiom most likely derived from an earlier phrase “stuck in the mud” (sometimes “clay” or “briers”) first used to describe someone as caught in a difficult situation, an early example of this phrase appears in Thomas Cooper's Thesaurus from 1565. The current form of the phrase is used to describe someone seemingly opposed to fun.
Likes: Niobe
Aug 2019
New York
“Tongue-in-cheek” - a phrase that originally described the physical act of putting one’s tongue in one’s cheek, an action that signified contempt prior to the mid eighteen hundreds. The phrase now refers to speaking in a sarcastic or ironic manner, often with humorous intentions. It could perhaps also be likened to the phrase “biting one’s tongue” to suppress an unwelcome verbal response, in this case likely laughter.
Tongue-in-cheek - Wikipedia