Thursday, March 21, 2013

Where did that saying come from?

I got an e-mail that told the history of some common sayings and thought they were pretty interesting, so I'm sharing.

 They used to use urine to tan animal skins, so families used to all pee in a pot, then once a day it was taken and sold to the tannery.......if you had to do this to survive you were "Piss Poor".

But worse than that were the really poor folk who couldn't even afford to buy a pot......they "didn't have a pot to piss in", and were the lowest of the low.

Baths consisted of a big tub filled with hot water. The man of the house had the privilege of the nice clean water, then all the other sons and men, then the women and finally the children. Last of all the babies. By then the water was so dirty you could actually lose someone in it.. Hence the saying, "Don't throw the baby out with the Bath water!" 

Houses had thatched roofs-thick straw-piled high, with no wood underneath. It was the only place for animals to get warm, so all the cats and other small animals (mice, bugs) lived in the roof. When it rained it became slippery and sometimes the animals would slip and fall off the roof... Hence the saying "It's raining cats and dogs."

In those old days, they cooked in the kitchen with a big kettle that always hung over the fire.. Every day they lit the fire and added things to the pot. They ate mostly vegetables and did not get much meat. They would eat the stew for dinner, leaving leftovers in the pot to get cold overnight and then start over the next day. Sometimes stew had food in it that had been there for quite a while. Hence the rhyme:
Peas porridge hot, peas porridge cold, peas porridge in the pot nine days old."
Sometimes they could obtain pork, which made them feel quite special. When visitors came over, they would hang up their bacon to show off. It was a sign of wealth that a man could, "bring home the bacon." They would cut off a little to share with guests and would all sit around and chew the fat.

Bread was divided according to status. Workers got the burnt bottom of the loaf, the family got the middle, and guests got the top, or the upper crust.

And that's the truth....Now, whoever said History was boring?


Life and Breath and Everything Else said...


Mari said...

I've wanted to start a blog post with all these weird phrases we say and wonder where they came from, but I haven't done the research to do so. Interesting post Mar'!!


I for one thought history is boring. LOL [not so much any more...depending on the subject more so these days.]

But this, this is my kinda reading. I really, really enjoyed this post. VERY interesting.

PS...bought me a pair of scrubs. Well the pants anyway. Black, and pedal pusher style. I like to wear black year 'round, and it's always so hot in the summer. Now, thanks to you, I can feel a lot cooler.

Anonymous said...

This was so interesting to read.
Thanks for sharing.
Enjoy your weekend.

Brooke said...


have a great weekend!! :)

Anonymous said...

Very interesting and enjoyable. Have a great weekend.

LL Cool Joe said...

I've never heard of the expression "piss poor" but I have the one about a pot to piss in. :D So the word piss has been around forever then!

Connie said...

Interesting and comical!!

Connie said...

Interesting and comical!!

Beth said...

I've heard all of these, but never understood how they came about or what they really meant. Thanks for the 'history' lesson. :>)

Linda said...


Christina said...

The urine one is so gross, close 2nd throwing the baby out with the bath water.

Betsy Brock said...

wow...I have never heard the stories behind any of those sayings! Very cool!

Kim said...

Very interesting! Thanks for sharing these fun factoids :)