Where did THAT come from?
GRIN # 169
Have you ever used an expression with a kid–as in “Sleep tight; don’t let the bedbugs bite” or “Quit nit-picking!”
Do it and watch how fast your sanity unravels. The kid will want to know what in the hell you’re talking about and explaining it will only confuse you both. Myself, I’m trying to stop.
In the meantime, and because I’m the dorkiest of dorks, this is what I discovered:
Sleep tight: Many moons ago before we had boxsprings, a mattress was held in place by stringing ropes across a wooden frame under the mattress. Once the ropes began to sag, so did the mattress. So “sleeping tight” was a wish your ropes would remain taut. As for bedbugs, until about 70 years ago we slept on all kinds of yuck–horsehair, leaves, grasses, straw etc and bedbugs were as common as a nighttime pee.
Nit-picking: This is a gross one. Nits are lice eggs and very difficult to remove. Back in the day (and still today) you have to go over and over a person’s head to remove eggs. So nit-picking came to mean someone who tediously visits an issue repeatedly and picks out the smallest things to complain about or criticize.
Upper crust: Slang for “rich folks,” this dates back to at least the 1500s when bread was baked in communal ovens. The bread for the poor was baked on lower racks where it was often burned by the coals. The rich got the loaves from the top racks.
And that is all the useless information I have for today. Promise. I’m sure none of it will help you in the least. Other expressions I have banned because they are too difficult to explain are: “Between a rock and a hard place,” “Love is blind” and “All’s well that ends well.”