• 1

    The World Wars

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  • 3

    Do you Know

  • 4

    Biographies for the B(ibl)iophile

  • 5

    Harry Potter

"Show Your True Colors"

Definition: To reveal who you really are, your true character when you show your true colors.

Origin: In ancient era, ships used to be identified solely by the flags or colors they flew to show which country or group they belonged to. Ships were soften fooled when pirates would sail under false flags from other countries and eventually the ship showed its true colors to the enemy by hoisting  its real flags, in this case a pirate flag.

"Tighten Your Belt"

Meaning: To tighten your belt means to sacrifice and lower your standard of living because you have less money than you did before.

Origin: This saying comes from the depression era when there was little money for anything including food so people had to tighten their belts in order to keep their pants from falling. As a consequence of having less food,people lost weight and hence had to tighten their belt.

"Bite the bullet"

Meaning: To accept something difficult or unpleasant

Origin: In the olden days, when doctors were short on anesthesia or time during a battle, they would ask the patient to bite down on a bullet to distract from the pain.

"Break the ice"

Meaning: To break off a conflict or commence a friendship.

Origin: Back when road transportation was not developed, ships would be the only transportation and means of trade. At times, the ships would get stuck during the winter because of ice formation and the receiving country would send small ships to “break the ice” to clear a way for the trade ships.

"Turn a blind eye"

Meaning: To ignore situations, facts, or reality

Origin: The British Naval hero, Admiral Horatio Nelson, had one blind eye. Once when the British forces signaled for him to stop attacking a fleet of Danish ships, he held up a telescope to his blind eye and said, “I do not see the signal.” He attacked, nevertheless, and was victorious.

"Caught red-handed"

Meaning: To be caught in the act of doing something wrong

Origin: This originates from an old English law that ordered any person to be punished for butchering an animal that wasn’t his own. The only way the person could be convicted is if he was caught with the animal’s blood still on his hands.

"Give a cold shoulder"

Meaning: Being unwelcoming or antisocial toward someone

Origin: In medieval England, it was customary to give a guest a cold piece of meat from the shoulder of mutton, pork, or beef chop when the host felt it was time for the guest to leave. This was a polite way to communicate, “You may leave, now.”

"Burn the candle at both ends"

Meaning: To live at a frenetic or dangerous pace, with adverse effects on one's health
Origin: In 18th-century England, the phrase was used literally: You'd be wasting a valuable candle if you attempted to burn it at both ends. At the same time, you'd likely end up with a nasty wax burn on your hands in the process. The metaphorical use combined the fire-on-both-sides aspect of the former and the danger-to-oneself aspect of the latter.

"Get up on the wrong side of the bed"

Meaning: To start the day in a less-than-sunny mood
Origin: In Roman times, it was considered bad luck to get out of bed on the left side. Hence if you exited on that wrong side, your day was fated to be a bad one.

"It's raining cats and dogs"

Meaning: It's raining heavily
Origin: In 17th-century England, public sanitation wasn't what it is today—hence during deluges, rain coursing down the streets would often carry dead animals with it. As a result, even though cats and dogs never literally showered down from above, they became associated with severe rainstorms. 

"Chance your arm"

 Meaning: Take a risk.
Origin: The arm in question refers to a stripe of military rank worn on the upper sleeve. Take a risk and you might be demoted, thereby losing a stripe.