Lesson Transcript

Alisha: Hi, everybody and welcome back to English topics. My name is Alisha and I'm joined today in the studio by.
Michael: Michael. Hello.
Alisha: And today, we're going to be talking about weird English idioms. So, let's get right into it. Let's start with you, Michael. What is your first weird English idiom?
Michael: It is--let's see. I'll pick it random. Ah, that's a good starter. "Cut the cheese." Cut the cheese. It's a weird one, we say it, we kind of accept it. So, this means to fart, means to fart. But I don't think it really sounds like a fart when you cut the cheese. You ask, usually, you say who cut the cheese right? What?
Alisha: I don't think that this refers to a sound. This idiom.
Michael: No. Yeah. What do you think it comes from? I don't have no idea.
Alisha: You are so full of it. You're going to make me explain this one, aren't you? This refers to the smell when you pass gas from your body. You guys are going to make me.
Michael: Oh. No. I swear.
Alisha: You're going to make me explain this.
Michael: I swear I didn't know that. Oh.
Alisha: It's a smell thing. If you cut a fresh cheese thing it smells kind of bad.
Michael: Oh. Cheese.
Alisha: So, your body as well if you release gas from your body, it may smell similar to a freshly cut block of cheese.
Michael: Ah.
Alisha: And now, I've explained something fart-related on the internet.
Michael: Yeah. Shouldn't be like fry the egg or something? If we're talking about smell, cheese--
Alisha: What do you do to your eggs?
Michael: My cheese. My farts don't smell like cheese. They smell like eggs more than cheese. I swear I thought that was the sound, you know? Like to fart.
Alisha: Like how often--
Michael: Alright. Well, that's... What about you?
Alisha: My God, this is only the first one. I'm supposed to talk about this now. That is--I would like to point out that phrase, one that's used a lot by kids and parents who are talking to kids. That's like a nice way to, I guess a silly way to refer to it otherwise rather unpleasant. Well, no, it's always unpleasant, I would imagine, bodily function. So, I don't recommend using that with your adult friends. But you meet a kid. It usually uses a question I should point out.
Michael: So painful. You're like--
Alisha: I'm trying to think of the last time I said this. It's been like years since I've said that.
Michael: Yeah, it's like "cheesy sitcoms." I don't think I've ever said it in my life, ever. I think you just maybe you hear it, you see it on sitcoms. Most idioms, a lot of these weird ones.
Alisha: Oh. I don't know. I say a few of them. Do you use the phrase "cut the cheese" as an adult?
Michael: No, no. Never in my life. Maybe SBD, silent but deadly. That's something I've used, you know, fart-related. But, "cut the cheese" probably never.
Alisha: Okay. Well, I'm going to continue on. Maybe I'm going to pick something to combat that one. Let's see. I pick--I pick this one. No, I pick this one. I'm going to choose this. They're kind of two variations of this one, "hit the sack" and "hit the hay." They both mean go to bed. They're just casual expressions that mean go to sleep or I'm done for the day. So, I'm going to go. But, yeah, I have no idea--I guess "hit the hay" kind of makes sense if you were going to sleep on a pile of hay, maybe.
Michael: Back in the day, usually.
Alisha: Mattresses used to be made of hay, maybe. And there was a sack involved, perhaps. I don't know.
Michael: Great roll.
Alisha: No, we're on such a good, good job today.
Michael: I guess that makes sense. Yes, mmm. I think this one I actually use. I don't I don't use "cut and cheese" but I use I use this one for sure.
Alisha: Yeah. I picked it.
Michael: Hmm.
Alisha: Sorry.
Michael: Hmm, hit the sack.
Alisha: Do you say anything else when you're going to go to bed?
Michael: "Pass out." I say, "pass out." "I'm going to pass out." Which is also like when you're sick. You faint, you pass out or if you're drunk, you pass out. It just means like deep, deep, deep sleep.
Alisha: Yeah.
Michael: Hit the sack? Hit the hay?
Alisha: It's just casual mmm. Friendly.
Michael: Hmm. More laid-back.
Alisha: Yeah. Okay. That's all. Good.
Michael: Yay.
Alisha: Michael, next one. Please don't let it be fart-related.
Michael: Okay, it is--I don't know what is it. Ah! "Steal someone's thunder." This one doesn't make sense at all. So, whose thunder? Is this God's?
Alisha: This is kind of a weird expression, isn't it? So, the meaning of this phrase is like to take credit for something that someone else has done, to steal someone's thunder.
Michael: Steal someone's thunder.
Alisha: I wonder where this expression came from, though.
Michael: Yeah.
Alisha: Cause, yeah. You can't--thunder is not tangible. Thunder, if you're wondering if that sound that occurs when there's a big storm, it's usually accompanied by lightning, a bright flash of light in a storm. Thunder is the sound that kind of rumbling sound that you hear. I don't know. That's a good question. But to steal someone's thunder is actually to take credit for something someone else has done.
Michael: Hmm.
Alisha: I wonder what the history of that is.
Michael: No, idea. This is one I've actually used before or maybe you hear it sometimes. But, yeah, I've got some good ones today. These are real good topic starters.
Alisha: Alright.
Michael: What about you? What's your next one?
Alisha: My next one. Let's see. I will pick, "to burn the candle at both ends." This expression means to work really hard. I guess, at least in my mind, the meaning of this. No, it's not? It's not to you?
Michael: No. I thought this is when like your life is a candle, right? Or so I thought, maybe, I'm reading this wrong. But, I thought your life is a candle and normally, you light it from the top and you slowly go down and then you die. So, if you live a crazy life, you know, you party all the time, you don't sleep and you're driving fast with no helmet, you're lighting the candle at both ends. So, you know, live fast, die young kind of-- however that phrase goes. That's what I thought.
Alisha: I could see that, though, too. In my mind, it was just that somebody who's working really, really hard it is like burning the candle at both ends. Like you're just you're just progressing so quickly and so fast through what you have to. But I can see that, too.
Michael: Yeah. So, these-- Idioms are ambiguous.
Alisha: It seems. It seems, depending on the person. The nuance might be a little different. More you know. Okay, what's your next one?
Michael: Um. I don't know. Ah! This is a classic one I know. "Raining cats and dogs" is the one I chose. "Raining cats and dogs." So, you always hear this and it doesn't make sense to me.
Alisha: It just means it's pouring.
Michael: Hmm, pouring really heavy rain, right? I think this is like the classic. This is the archetype idiom that they use. When they talk about idioms in English, you always hear "raining cats and dogs." But, it doesn't literally rain cats and dogs and why cats and dogs instead of, I don't know, "it's raining whales," it's raining--
Alisha: Yeah, that's a good point. Why cats and dogs? Why not like apples and oranges? Or, violins and harpsichords? Or penguin and wombats? Your questions for the ages. I don't know. But, yeah, it just means it's a downpour. I wonder what the history of that one is, too. I'm sure there's some kind of linguistic history to these phrases or maybe it was just some guy who just said a phrase and then all of his friends picked up on it. It wouldn't be the first time or the last. Okay. I don't know, I don't know where to go with that one. Then, my last one, I picked another animal-related one then. This one is to "hear something straight from the horse's mouth." When you hear something straight from the horse's mouth that means you get news directly from the source. Why you're hearing it from a horse who is able to talk in this expression? I do not know but it just means that you are getting the information directly from the person who has the information as opposed to hearing it from via hearsay or something like that. So, to "hear something straight from the horse's mouth," it's kind of a weird phrase, I think. Why is it a horse, again? Why the specific horse? Why is that the specific animal that has been chosen to relay information to humans and why is the horse also deemed reliable, a reliable source of information?
Michael: Don't worry. Just ask the horse. He knows.
Alisha: Yeah. I know a guy who knows a horse. Let me go ask him. What is the history of that?
Michael: Yeah
Alisha: Anyway.
Michael: I was thinking the same thing when I was trying to think of idioms that are weird is the grapevine.
Alisha: "I heard it through the grapevine?"
Michael: Yeah. Again, it's anthropomorphizing and giving these random objects human qualities but why a horse? Why a grapevine? I think a horse makes a little more sense because at least it has a mouth but a grapevine. Is it a literal--?
Alisha: No, I think that the grapevine just refers to the way a grapevine grows, kind of in this crisscross pattern. And so, that's kind of the way that the information travels when you hear something through the grapevine. It transverses or crosses many different people and then it gets to you, much in the way that a grapevine grows
Michael: That one makes ton of sense, huh.
Alisha: So, maybe, an expression like "to hear something through the grapevine," meaning to hear it from a few or via a few different people is kind of the opposite of "hearing something from the horse's mouth." To hear something from the source as opposed to hearing via messenger or messenger of a messenger.
Michael: That makes sense.
Alisha: Okay, those are some weird English idioms. Give them a try if you have the opportunity. Do you have anything to add Michael?
Michael: Not today.
Alisha: Not today?
Michael: Not today.
Alisha: Okay.
Michael: What do I say to them?
Alisha: Don't cut the cheese?
Michael: Don't cut the cheese?
Alisha: Okay. And if you have any questions or comments be sure to leave them in a comment below and we will see you again next time when we have some more fun stuff. Bye-bye.