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Why is it said

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Adam's apple - why it is said

According to dictionary definitions, Adam's apple means "external bulge of the thyroid cartilage of the larynx (especially expressed in men)", ie "bulging cartilage in the throat at the entrance to the trachea". Its Latin name is Pomum Adami, which literally means "Adam's apple". This form - apple, instead of the diminutive apple, is often used in our country, so we speak both Adam's apple and Adam's apple.

Why is the apple or apple tree, which plays under our throats (when swallowing or some kind of excitement), connected with the name of the ancestor Adam? The answer to that question can be found in the biblical story of the lives of the first people on earth - Adam and Eve.

When he created Adam "from the dust of the earth" and breathed life into him, God, according to the Old Testament, planted a garden in Eden to the east; and there he placed the man he had created. And the LORD God made thee a tree of every kind, good for sight and good for food, and a tree of life in the midst of the garden, and a tree of the knowledge of good and evil.

Thus, according to the Bible, the Garden of Eden (earthly paradise) was created so that Adam could enjoy it forever, with only one limitation, that is. the prohibition God gave him:

"And the Lord God rebuked the man, saying, Eat freely of every tree of the garden;

But from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, do not eat from it; for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.

Adam kept this commandment until Eve persuaded him to break the divine prohibition. This event is described in the Old Testament as follows:

"But the serpent was cunning in all the beasts of the field which the Lord God had made; And he said unto the woman, Is it true that God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?

And the woman said unto the serpent, We eat the fruit of every tree of the garden;

Only the fruit from that tree in the middle of the garden, God said, do not eat or touch it, lest you die.

And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die;

But God knows that on the day you taste it, your eyes will be opened, and you will become like gods and know what is good and what is evil.

And when the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food, and that it was a pleasure to behold, and that the tree was very glad for knowledge, she took the fruit out of it, and tasted it;

According to popular belief, when Adam realized what sin he had committed and how much trouble he would suffer in the future, a piece of apple stopped in his throat, so a bulge appeared on his throat, which still marks all Adam's descendants today, ie. men.

Achilles heel - why is it said

The term Achilles heel is used to mean a vulnerable spot, a weak spot, a weakness. It is difficult to say whether the heel became famous for Achilles, or Achilles for the heel. Because, in the great Trojan War, sung in Homer's Iliad, there were more heroes: Paris, Hector, Patroclus, Memnon and many others. But the name of none of them has remained with the people for so long and is not pronounced as often in everyday speech (in almost all languages ​​of the world) as Achilles'. Only those who have read the Iliad know about Paris, Hector and other Homer's heroes and remember them only when they read it again, or when they think about that great work. The only Achilles' name is mentioned today and without any connection with the Iliad, and the reason for that is precisely his famous - the fifth.

Achilles, or Achilles, was, according to legend, the son of the Thessalian king Peleus and the goddess Thetis. He was raised on Pelion, where the noble centaur Chiron made him fast and strong, but also gentle and eloquent. He was just ready for war when the Mycenaean king Agamemnon was preparing a great campaign against Troy (Ilion), due to the kidnapping of the beautiful Helena, the wife of the Spartan king Menelaus, who was kidnapped by the Trojan prince Paris. Achilles responded to the call for him to go into battle, although his mother Thetis warned him that if he went to Troy, he would live short, but also gain fame, and if he stayed, he would live long as an ordinary man. Achilles opted for glory, despised death, and, together with his friend Patroclus and his Myrmidons, joined the strong Greek army, which included Odysseus.

The siege of Troy lasted a long time, a full ten years. Homer describes only forty-eight days of the last year of the Great War, in which Achilles became the main Hellenic hero. Coming into conflict with the commander-in-chief of the Greek army, Agamemnon, over the beautiful slave Brizeida, Achilles withdrew from the fight, but returned again when the Greeks began to lose and when the Trojan hero Hector, thinking he was fighting Achilles, killed his best a friend of Patroclus. Angry and armed with the divine (Hephaestus) weapon, which was given to him by his mother, the goddess Thetis, Achilles kills Hector and drags his body around the walls of Troy three times a day. He then kills Memnon, the son of the goddess Eos, but in the heat of battle, disobeying even Apollo himself, he dies at the Gate of Scythia. There, Hector's brother Paris met him and, with Apollo's help, hit him with an arrow in the only vulnerable place on his body, in the heel. Thus ended the life of the glorious Achilles and thus the fatal prophecy of the goddess Thetis came true.

The story is exciting and familiar to many. However, it remains to be explained why Achilles was vulnerable only in the heel, and not in some other part of the body: in the shoulder, knee or arm. The legend says the following. After she married a mortal, King Peleus, the goddess Thetis gave birth to his son Achilles. Wanting to make him immortal, that is, invulnerable, she anointed him with ragweed (divine ointment) during the day, and tempered him with fire at night. Some, again, say that, for the same reasons, she put it in the water of the underground river Styx. The only place that remained unmoistened with protective water was the heel, which Tethys held Achilles by immersing him in Styx. Therefore, he could only be wounded in that place.

Thus, Achilles' heel remained an unprotected place, a weak, vulnerable point on his body, and that, as it could be seen, was fatal for his very life. Later, the term Achilles' heel expanded, was taken over into the Serbian language, and is used in the meaning: "weak, vulnerable place", "weak point" or "weak side" in general.

This is how the established expression (and anatomical term) Adam's apple (or apple) emerged from a biblical story and folk imagination.

If Muhammad doesn't want the hill - why is it said

At the end of the 16th century, more precisely, in 1597, in his Ethical and Political Essays (in the essay On Courage), the famous English philosopher Francis Bacon (1561–1626) attributed this witty incident to the founder of the Islamic religion, Muhammad:

Going among the people and preaching a new faith, Muhammad, in order to show his prophetic power, stated on one occasion that he could start the hill and make him come to it. But when, at the urging of the believers, he tried to do so, he failed. He wasn't confused, though. He calmly said: "So what ?! If the shore does not want Muhammad, Muhammad wants the shore! ”

From then until our days, this saying is used in speech when one wants to avoid an unfulfillable promise in a witty way, or to justify achieving a goal in an easier, simpler way.

The story of Muhammad and the hill is not original. Like some others (e.g. the story of Columbus' egg), this incident has been attributed to various personalities. Thus, for example, Marco Polo (1254–1324), a famous Italian traveler and travel writer, in records published in Latin after his death (probably in Rome or Venice, 1484), speaks of a shoemaker from Baghdad, who assured Caliph Al Mujetasim to the advantage of Christianity in such a way that, by showing the power of his faith, he allegedly managed to move the shore. There is, however, no ghostly excuse for failure, as in Bacon's anecdote about Muhammad, but this can be explained by the fact that the myth of moving the hill was known in Christianity and was associated with various Christian missionaries. (Even the Holy Apostle Paul, in the First Epistle to the Corinthians, wrote about a faith that "moves even worse.")

The story of Muhammad and the hill could, therefore, be based only partially on that Christian myth. Its second, more witty part (the very apology for the unfulfilled promise) is probably taken from an Eastern story about Nasrudin Hoxha, first recorded in the early 17th century. According to that story, Nasrudin once presented himself to the people as a saint. When asked to prove it by some miracle, he replied that he could order the palm tree to move and reach it. The miracle, of course, did not happen, but Nasrudin, like Muhammad, cunningly escaped. He approached the palm tree and said, “Prophets and saints are not arrogant. If the palm tree won't come to me, I will to it. "

The replacement of the palm tree with a hill (or mountain), in the story of Muhammad, could have been made according to the mentioned Christian models, and perhaps it also relies on the once quite widespread Turkish saying: “Goro, goro, move; if the mountain does not move, let the saint move! ”

It is difficult to say whether it is one or the other, or both at the same time. But it doesn't matter that much. It is an important fact that the anecdote about the miracle worker and the hill is related to the great Islamic prophet, so today it is used exclusively in that variant, not only in Serbian but also in some other languages ​​(Russian, for example). It is said everywhere: "If Muhammad does not want the shore, Muhammad wants the shore."

Alajbeg's straw - why it is said

Alajbeg's straw is a typical Serbian phrase. Although the word alajbeg itself (or, as a proper name, with a capital letter: Alajbeg) is a word of oriental, more precisely - Turkish origin, this expression does not exist in Turkish or in other oriental languages, nor is it recorded in any other language. in the world except Serbian. Originating from life, in special historical circumstances, the expression alajbeg's straw testifies to the times in which it originated, but also to us who use it today: our natures and habits.

According to the interpretation of Abdulah Škaljić, the author of the dictionary Turkism in the Serbo-Croatian language, the phrase alajbeg's straw means: "property without a master, something that everyone can take and use", that is - something that belongs to everyone and no one, measures and controls. In order to find an answer to the question of how a phrase with such a meaning developed in the Serbian language, it is necessary to clarify what the word alajbeg means (because it is assumed that everyone knows well what straw is). Škaljić interprets this word as follows:

„Alajbeg m (tur.) 1. commander of the spahis in the sandžak; each sandzak had its own alajbeg… Later, after the reform of the Turkish army, alajbeg was the name for the commander of the gendarmerie regiment. 2. in the tobacco guild (guild) the ćehaja was called alajbeg. ”

For the phrase in question, the first meaning is important, ie. alajbeg as an elder of alaj (paramilitary or military units the size of today's regiment). It was, as could be seen, in the beginning, and for a long time for the Turkish empires, the commander of the feudal lords in a sandzak (area). Vuk Karadzic also states in the Serbian Dictionary: "They say that there are four alajbegs in Bosnia, under which all the beys and spahis are there." In the event of war, all these feudal landowners (smaller, so-called timariots, and larger ones - ziametlije) joined the alay (regiments) and under the command of alajbeg defended the Turkish Empire, or went on war campaigns. In addition, they were obliged to provide hay, straw and all other needs for riding and pack horses in their alleys.

It has not been confirmed, but it can be assumed that the expression alajbeg's straw developed from the irresponsible attitude towards that jointly collected property under the alajbeg. With the weakening of the central government in the Ottoman Empire, irresponsibility and mischief became more and more widespread, so, as a reflection of that situation, the expression in question probably arose.

Perhaps the origin of that expression is related to a specific event, to the story of the distribution of the straw of an alajbeg, which had a foothold in reality. And that assumption is quite possible, especially when you take into account the fact that some sources state that expression with a capital letter (Alajbeg's straw), and that already points to one's own name and the specific person to whom the phrase is related.

Therefore, both interpretations are possible and convincing, although there is no written or any other evidence in that sense. At least for now. We are left with only one story, recorded by a television camera, by the writer Ćamil Sijarić, who, based on his artistic imagination, shows the origin of the expression alajbeg's straw as follows:

"Summer has come, without water: there is no grass, no grass - no hay, no strong cattle to spend the winter with. And when winter comes, everyone runs to the alajbeg and its straw (collected for military needs). Everyone grabs and puts on their backs as much as they can carry in order to save the treasure. And it can be assumed that in some case, there was a whole drama about that straw with some alajbeg. Around these alajbeg's straw, around the stacks, people gathered and distributed as much as anyone wanted and could. And everything around was yellow from that scattered straw… That is, I guess, some truth and some fact about how the expression alajbeg's straw came about. ”

Apart from that literary view, there is no other, safer evidence of the origin of that often used phrase, as it has already been said. So we will continue to stick to the assumptions. But one thing is for sure. The expression alajbeg's straw testifies to our inherited and maintained habit of not caring about what is common. Judging by how much common (social, state or collective) property is being squandered and lost today, that term will be used in the Serbian language for a long time to come.

Alpha and omega - why say

In the Revelation of Saint John the Theologian (New Testament, translated by Vuk Stefanović Karadžić), the phrase alpha and omega is used in several places. Thus in the first chapter, in verse 8, it says:

"I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End," says the Lord, who is, and who was, and who will come, the Almighty.

Or in verse 10 of the same chapter:

"I was in the spirit on Sunday, and I heard behind me a voice as big as a trumpet saying: I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last."

That alpha and omega means "beginning and end" or "first and last" is confirmed in Chapter XXII, verse 13, where it says:

"I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End, the First and the Last."

Such a meaning of the phrases alpha and omega is not difficult to explain when it is known that the Greek alphabet begins with the letter alpha (α) and ends with omega (ω). The whole alphabet has 24 letters, which are read: alpha, beta, gamma, delta, epsilon, zeta, eta, theta, jota, cap, lambda, mi, ni, xi, omicron, pi, ro, sigma, tau, epsilon, fi, hi, psi, omega. Hence, the alpha and omega label for something that is first and last, or that is the beginning and the end, is the end of something.

This established expression is also used in modern language, so it is recorded in our dictionaries and encyclopedias, with the meaning that is in the Bible. In the Dictionary of Matica Srpska, it was added that alpha and omega also mean - "everything that is important, essence, essence". Thus, this expression, after all, can be interpreted on the basis of the cited examples from the Bible, where the Lord reveals himself as the essence of everything that exists: "who is, and who was, and who will come, the Almighty". Therefore, it can be said that "honey is the alpha and omega and the only purpose of the beehive", as stated in one place in the work of Miroslav Krleža, or that he is the director of "alpha and omega of progress", as once noted in a newspaper. It could also be said that the persistent and systematic work of "the alpha and omega of every success", etc.

In addition to alpha and omega, we also speak from alpha to omega, which means: "from beginning to end", ie. "Complete", "extensive", "exhaustive", as in the example: "He told us all the tensions: from alpha to omega."

It used to be spoken in the same sense from a to izica, because the Old Slavonic alphabet began with the letter a, and ended with a letter called izica. In our time, it is spoken from a to sh, according to the first and last letter of the Serbian alphabet, or from a to z, according to the beginning and end of the Serbian alphabet. In some places, according to the letters of the German alphabet, one can also hear: od a bis cet (originally: a bis z). In this last case, which is already a combination of Serbian and German (Serbian from and German bis), it is often wrong, so it is heard: from a to bis cet. There is no need to repeat the same words, because encore in German already means "to".

Throw away the glove - why is it said

The phrase to throw down the glove means to challenge someone to a duel, to enter a fight, to sharply oppose in a dispute. Opposite to that is the expression to accept (or receive, raise) a thrown glove, meaning: "to agree to a duel or a fight, a dispute, a dispute". It is also said to reject (or return) the thrown glove, in the sense: "not to accept, to refuse a challenge to a duel, fight, dispute, etc.". The explanation of how the expressions in question came about is interesting and worth hearing.

In the Middle Ages, knights, and even other respectable people, usually resolved mutual quarrels (usually due to injury to personal parts and reputation) through duels (duels). Opponents crossed swords in front of witnesses, or shot at each other from a certain distance. The one who stays on the square was the winner. He was rarely defeated in life. Thus, in the duels, defending their part, the two greatest Russian poets lost their lives: Alexander Sergeyevich Pushkin and Mikhail Yuryevich Lermontov.

The duels were organized according to strictly established rules, and they were announced in such a way that the offended person threw a glove in the face of his opponent. If this one raised her, it meant that she accepted the duel, and if not, it was considered that she did not agree to the showdown.

From there, the established expressions to throw a glove, to accept (or receive, pick up) a thrown glove, to reject (or return) a thrown glove later developed.

No hair on the tongue - why say

The expression without a hair on the tongue means to speak openly, decisively, without hesitation to express one's opinion. It is difficult to say with certainty how it originated and where the expression comes from, which, in the same sense, is used in another version: not to have hair on the tongue. Such an expression also exists in German, except that it does not say there is no, but, on the contrary - to have hair on the tongue (German: Haare auf der Zunge haben). In addition, Germans also speak and have hair on their teeth (German: Haare auf den Zähnen haben).

What can be noticed in connection with all these variants of one and the same expression in the Serbian and German languages ​​is that their common backbone is the word hair, as well as the meaning itself, which is determined in dictionaries in more or less the same way. For expressions used in the German language, an explanation is given in the phraseological dictionaries: with the determinant Haare auf der Zunge haben (“to have a hair on the tongue”) - “to have a long tongue; to be impudent in language ”, and with Haare auf den Zähnen haben (“ to have hair on your teeth ”) -“ to be energetic; sharply defend his position, his right; have a sharp tongue; to be impudent ”. The question arises as to how these, essentially very similar meanings of Serbian and the corresponding German phraseology could have developed. There are two assumptions, which are not particularly convincing.

In some parts of our country, there was a belief that those who lie grow hair on their tongues. That's how mothers usually told their children: "Stick out your tongue to see if you're lying!" This should mean that those who do not lie, who, therefore, have nothing to hide, can show their language, ie. to speak openly and sharply, without hesitation. And that is the basic meaning of the expression without hair on the tongue, that is, not having hair on the tongue.

The Germans connect their expression Haare auf der Zunge haben, or Haare auf den Zähnen haben, with the story of a man who wanted to appear as a werewolf, so he showed veins (and, probably, hair) on his tongue and teeth. Hence the "to have hair on the tongue / teeth", as opposed to the Serbian: "not to have".

For the German expression, however, the explanation, which (as already mentioned) is given in one etymological dictionary, is more convincing, that hair, that is, hairiness, is the primordial sign of a free man. According to that, hair on the tongue, or teeth, means "free" (speech, etc.).

If this explanation is correct, and if the term in question here is taken from Serbian to German, the question remains how German to have hair on the tongue turned into Serbian to have no hair on the tongue. So far, no convincing answer has been found to that question.

Cesarean section - why it is said

The phrase caesarean section arose as a result of a double error: the error of mother nature and one simple linguistic error. The term itself originated in the 17th century, but the surgical procedure used to describe it ("removing the fetus from the mother's womb by cutting through the abdominal wall and uterus") existed much earlier. According to Greek legends, that is how Dionysus, the god of wine and joy, and even the god of medicine Asclepius, came into the world. The birth by caesarean section is also associated with some heroes of folk epics (the mythical hero Rustem from the Iranian epic Shahnameh, for example), and there was a belief that the famous Romans Publius Cornelius Scipio Africanus, consul and military leader who defeated the Carthaginians, were born that way. , and Gaius Julius Caesar himself, the great emperor. The Roman writer and historian Pliny the Elder believed that the nickname Caesar (originally Caesar) came from Caesares or Caesaris, as people who were ex utero matris exsecti were called, i.e. "Born cut out of the womb."

Such a birth of Julius Caesar has never been proven, but the term caesarean section (Latin: sectio caesarea) is still associated with his name. But about that later. Now a few more words about the caesarean section as a human correction of Mother Nature's mistake.

The operation of removing the child from the mother's womb is performed in cases when, due to various disorders, natural childbirth is impossible or dangerous. Today, it is a routine surgical intervention, with a negligible mortality rate, and once the outcome of that procedure, due to poisoning and other complications, was fatal for the fetus, and especially for the mother. In the past, caesarean sections were performed mainly on newly pregnant women (sectio caesarea in mortua). The reasons were twofold: humane (to save a child) and magical or religious. Justinian's code records the old Roman provisions that a child must be removed from a dead pregnant woman. According to the customs of some ancient peoples, a pregnant woman was not allowed to be buried or burned with a child in her womb, and in the Middle Ages the Catholic Church recommended that a child be removed from a dead mother so that she could be baptized if she survived.

Although there are some assumptions that caesarean section on a living woman was applied much earlier, the first such procedure was performed only around 1500. This endeavor, as the first, is attributed to a certain Jakob Nufer, a Swiss castrator of pigs, who thus, with the prior permission of the priest, and with the assistance of the local executioner and the presence of the mayor and judge, saved his wife and child from certain death. It is noted that a little later (more precisely, 1540), the Italian vidar Christopher Baino performed the same operation, saving one mother, but, unfortunately, not her child. As early as 1581, the first monograph on caesarean section was published. It was written by the French doctor Francois Rousset.

Let us return to the very expression of caesarean section and the linguistic fallacy on which it is based. Since Caesar was believed to have been born by cutting from his mother's womb, the Latin name for the operation was sectio caesarea (which is, in fact, a tautological combination of two words of the same or very similar meaning: sectio - "cutting" and caesarea - "cut"; the words are derived from verbs meaning "to cut, to cut" - the first from secare, and the second from caedera), it has been misinterpreted, so that caesarea is connected with Caesar, which also means "king". That is how, thanks to a mistake, the term caesarean section was created.

There is another interpretation of the origin of that expression, but it also points to the connection with the name of Julius Caesar. In his law (Lex Caesarea), namely, it was prescribed that the womb of every woman who died in an advanced pregnancy be opened, so, allegedly, according to him, the operation was called a caesarean section. This assumption has not been proven either. Therefore, the conclusion remains that the term caesarean section originated as a result of a linguistic misconception. But, regardless of that, he entered medical terminology, and even ordinary everyday speech, where it is used in the meaning: "energetic, saving procedure in solving a difficult problem".

Sword of Damocles - why is it said

The story of the sword of Damocles is very short, but interesting and instructive. Damocles, as the famous Roman orator Cicero notes in his Tusculaan sermons, was one of the closest and most trusted collaborators of Dionysius the Younger (397-343 BC), the unlimited ruler (tyrant) of Syracuse in ancient Greece. Dionysius lived in a luxurious castle, he was very rich and influential, and with his attitude he caused (fear) respect among his subordinates and in the whole people of Syracuse. Everyone envied him because of such a position and luxurious life, and most of all his close associate Damocles. Damocles expressed his envy in a cunning way - praising his master, emphasizing his virtues and the happiness that the gods gave him to live peacefully in prosperity and abundance and to rule over everyone without fear of anyone or anything. "You are the happiest of all people!" - said Damocles to the tyrant Dionysius.

But Dionysius himself knew that the ruler's luck was deceptive and that every ruler was lurking in numerous dangers. On one occasion, he made this known to the flattering Damocles in an obvious and witty way. In his sumptuous castle, he prepared a rich feast, inviting all dignitaries from his immediate surroundings, among them Damocles. To the great surprise of those present, and most of all of Damocles himself, he placed him in his place, thus enabling him to feel the satisfaction of unlimited authority and respect, at least on that occasion. During the feast, the agitated Damocles saw a sharp sword above his head, which hung on a thin horse's hair, threatening to detach itself at any moment and hit him right in the head. In such a situation, Damocles became very afraid - he no longer liked eating or drinking, and the pleasure that had permeated him until then because of the honors and importance given to him, turned into a hellish sea. Then Dionysius approached him and explained that the sword hanging on a thin string above his head was a symbol of the danger to which every ruler was constantly exposed, so he must know that the ruler's happiness is only apparent. "Here, under such a threat of constant danger, I enjoy my wealth and my power," Dionysius concluded.

From that story came the expression Sword of Damocles, meaning: "danger that constantly threatens", "dangerous situation", "threat" and the like. It has survived to this day and is often used.

The story of the sword of Damocles has its own deeper, one might say - philosophical meaning. It encourages thinking about the deceitfulness of the satisfaction and happiness of those who rule, but also about the instability of every government and force in this world. "Every government is for the times" - says our people, expressing their knowledge and the proverb: "Today vizier, tomorrow rezil", ie. "Disgraced, humiliated, ridiculed." The poet Ivan Gundulić (1589–1638) also expressed the same thought in the song Osman with the following verses: "Now the top of the sword of the crown hangs, Now the top of the crown of the sword falls,

The sword of Damocles, therefore, constantly threatens every authority and every force. It is good when the tyrants and rulers know that, as the Syracusan tyrant Dionysius knew very well, showing the envious Damocles what the ruling happiness and contentment mean.

Day D - why say

It is one of the rare phrases that is very often used in different meanings, which is not very characteristic of phraseology. In order to answer the question of what day D is, how the term originated and what its original meaning is, it is necessary to go back many years, and decades, back to the time of the Second World War, when the Nazi German army was under occupation. almost all of Europe. Having lost two decisive battles against the Red Army in the east, near Stalingrad (in the winter of 1942) and near Kursk (in the summer of 1943), Hitler's war machine was severely shaken. At that moment, it had to be dealt a decisive blow on the Western Front as well, so the Allies (Anglo-American armed forces, with the help of the French resistance movement) planned and carried out a large landing operation in Normandy (from June 6 to August 30, 1944). It was the largest landing operation in the history of wars so far, and it involved 39 allied divisions, close to 12,000 planes, 4,500 tanks, 5,000 ships and about 4,000 smaller boats and other naval vehicles. It goes without saying that the preparations for such a large and important military operation had to be carried out in strict secrecy. Therefore, the day of the beginning of the invasion (June 6, 1944) was marked with the code D, which, in fact, means "day" (English day). The clock is denoted by H (from the English hour, which means "hour, hour"). All other days and hours, before and after, were marked with D +, D - and H +, X -.

This is how the term D-day (read: "di dej"), or, translated into Serbian, dan D ("dan ​​de"), came into being in English. It initially marked only the date of the Allied landing in France, June 6, 1944. Later, the term gained general meaning and is used today, most often in the press and political language, as a sign of an important, significant, crucial day (date), the day of the decision, the day when a big turnaround is expected, and then a difficult, dramatic day. etc.

David and Goliath - why say

David and Goliath are biblical figures. In modern language, these two names are woven into a common expression that denotes opponents of unequal strength. Goliath is a giant, strong, cruel and ruthless, and David is weak, weak, but he fights for a just cause and therefore wins. The biblical story of David and Goliath is related to the fight between the Israelites and their worst enemies - the Philistines. When the two armies, ready for battle, lined up against each other, the Bible says, "a prisoner named Goliath of Gath, six cubits and one foot tall," came out of the Philistine district ("over three and a half meters"). Terrifying in appearance, all in armor, with deadly weapons, he said in a loud voice to the Israelites:

"Choose one among yourself, and let him come out to me.

If he overcomes me and kills me, we will be your servants; if I overcome him and kill him, then you will be our servants, and you will serve us. "

When the Israelites heard this, they were terrified. The only one who had the courage to oppose Goliath was young David, God's chosen one and the future king of Israel. The Philistine was surprised. "And when the Philistine looked and saw David, they laughed him to scorn, because he was young and brown, and had a fair countenance," the Bible says. The struggle of David and Goliath is described in the Bible at length and extensively. Here is the main part of that description (1 Samuel, chapter XVII):

And it came to pass, when the Philistine arose, and came nigh unto David, that David made haste to run before the Philistine.

And David put his hand into his bag, and took a stone out of it, and cast it out of the sling, and struck the Philistine in the forehead, and a stone went in his forehead, and he fell on his face to the ground.

So David overcame the Philistine with his scythe and stone, and struck the Philistine and killed him; and David had no sword in his hand.

And David ran upon the Philistine, and took his sword, and drew it out of its sheath, and slew it, and cut off his head. And when the Philistines saw that their hero was dead, they fled.

And the men of Israel and of Judah arose, and cried, and drove the Philistines to the valley, and to the gate of Aaron. and the slain Philistines fell by the way of Sarai to Gath and to Ekron.

This biblical story clearly indicates the origin of the terms David and Goliath and does not require special comment. It should only be added that the broader term struggle of David and Goliath is also used in our country, meaning: "an unequal struggle, a struggle in which justice and victory are on the side of the weaker".

Draconian punishment - why say

The term draconian punishment (more often in the plural: draconian punishments) means inappropriate, excessively severe, drastic punishment, ie. an extremely strict legal sanction that is not in proportion to the gravity of the violation. That expression is very old. It is associated with the name of the Athenian legislator Drakon, who, according to tradition, lived in the 7th century BC. e. It is believed that he was 621 BC. e. codified through laws that were characterized by extreme rigor. It was said that they were "written in blood", because they foresaw the death penalty for almost every crime.

Such were the Dragon's laws and the punishments imposed on them. Members of the high aristocratic class of slave owners (eupatrids) contributed even more to the frightening strictness and inhumanity of these laws with arbitrary and arbitrary interpretations of their provisions.

One hundred years later (in the 6th century BC), the dragon's laws were repealed by the famous Athenian politician and legislator Solon (638-539 BC), one of the seven ancient Greek sages. Thus, the imposition of unbalanced and drastic punishments in Greece stopped. Yet they have been remembered for all time, along with Dragon's name, woven into an expression denoting excessively severe legal sanctions, which are disproportionate to the act committed.

There were draconian punishments even after the Dragon, otherwise that expression would not have remained in the language. It could be said that many provisions of the well-known Dušan's law from the 14th century were draconian. Especially the ones after which the unfortunate culprits had their hands cut off, "cut their tongues", "stung their beards", etc. However, in terms of severity and cruelty, the Dragon remained unparalleled in the history of the civilized world, as evidenced by the very adjective draconian, which, in all combinations, means: "too strict, relentless, cruel, ruthless." So, then, in addition to the draconian punishment, draconian laws, draconian measures, draconian actions, etc. are spoken today.

Oedipus complex - why it is said

The legend of the unfortunate King Oedipus is one of the most shocking and sad stories from ancient Hellenic times. Marked by his very name (which in Greek means: "one who has swollen legs"), Theban king Oedipus had a difficult and dramatic life, and he ended it in the greatest physical and mental torment. He suffered, in fact, the sins of his father, King Laius, who, because of the kidnapping of a boy (the prince of Elis), was cursed to lose his offspring, or to die at the hands of his own son, if he had one. Since his wife Jocasta gave him a male descendant, King Lai, in fear of the curse, ordered the child's legs to be stumbled and left mutilated, in the middle of the harshest winter, on Mount Kitheron. The shepherd, who was entrusted to carry out that order, did not carry it out - he took pity on the boy and handed him over to King Polyb's men. Polybius did not have male children, so he adopted the intentions they brought him, calling him Oedipus (because his legs were mutilated). Together with his wife Merop, he raised him at his court, where Oedipus grew into a handsome and strong young man. By nature, however, he was quite impulsive.

Oedipus lived happily until one day he learned from a drunken Corinthian that he was not the son of Polybus and Merop. He immediately set out for Delphi to learn the truth about his life from Apollo's prophecy there. There he was prophesied to kill his father and marry his mother. Because, despite the stories, he believed that his parents were Polybius and Merope, he did not want to return to Corinth in order to avoid fulfilling the terrible prophecy. But the foretold evil fate did not pass him by. On his way from Delphi, he met King Laius and his entourage in a gorge. Tormented by doubts, Lai also went to Delphi to find out from the prophecy what happened to the boy when he gave his shepherd to leave him on Kitheron. The two bystanders did not know that they were a father and a son, and that led to a tragic outcome. As the king's men ordered him to get out of the way, the impulsive and angry Oedipus caused a quarrel in which he clashed with Lay and killed him, and then killed all his companions. Thus the first part of the prophecy was fulfilled: King Lai died at the hands of his own son. But an even greater disaster was brewing for Oedipus. After destroying the Sphinx, a monster that destroyed many human lives and endangered the survival of the city of Thebes, he received as a reward the royal throne and Queen Jocasta to marry, which he did without knowing that it was his birth mother. Namely, the Thebans had promised to proclaim the one who answered the Sphinx's riddle alive (because she ruthlessly killed those who did not know the answer) as the savior of the city and give him Laius' widow as his wife. It happened, exactly according to the fatal prophecy, that the Sphinx's question "Which creature goes on four legs in the morning, on two at noon, and on three legs in the evening?" the right answer was given by Oedipus. "That being is," he said to the Sphinx, "a man who, as a child, walks on all fours, that is. on arms and legs; when he grows up and gets stronger, he goes on two, and when he grows old, he uses a stick as a third leg. ” After that, the Sphinx, defeated, threw herself off the rock and disappeared, and Oedipus became king of Thebes and married Jocasta. With her, he gave birth to four children: two sons - Eteocles and Polynicus, and two daughters - Antigone and Ismen.

Because of the grave sin of Oedipus, the plague began to plague you, and there was great poverty and hunger. People were dying en masse, and the survivors were looking for salvation from the great trouble in which they found themselves. The Delphic prophecy predicted that Thebes would be saved when the murderer of King Laius was found and punished. Oedipus ordered a search for the murderer, cursing him to be an eternal martyr and exile, when none of the people, as a villain, would be accepted into their home. He did not know that he was passing judgment on himself.

Searching for Laius 'murderer, King Oedipus, after much doubt and hesitation, reliably determined (because, among other things, a shepherd was found who handed him over to Polybius' men) that he was the villain. The terrible knowledge that he had killed his father and married his mother - who, because of the same knowledge, hanged himself - Oedipus pierced the pupils of both his eyes with a golden needle taken from Jocasta's dress, so blinded not to look at the sinful deeds he had committed. And then, blind and crushed by pain, mourning his fate with bloody tears, he was expelled from You. Long after that, accompanied by his faithful daughter Antigone, he wandered around the world, without a roof over his head, accompanied by contempt for people, until he ended his unhappy life in the greatest torment.

Oedipus' destiny was treated in his works by the famous Greek tragedians Aeschylus and Sophocles, and later by the Roman philosopher and writer Seneca. But what makes his name known to many people around the world has not been so much a literary work as the term Oedipus complex, which in psychology means "a child's subconscious tendency to feel attachment to a parent of the opposite sex and hostility to a parent of the same sex." which in some cases also occurs as a more severe mental disorder and can be a source of neurosis in later life.

Gordian knot - why say

Two ancient legends with several prophecies are woven into the famous Gordian knot.

The first legend tells of a poor Phrygian peasant named Gordian. For years, he worked the sweaty land in the sweat of his brow in order to somehow survive and feed the numerous weaklings. One day something strange started happening around Gordy, which he himself could not explain. As, hunched over, he followed the plow to plow the field, a large flock of birds flew around him constantly, following him from foot to foot. To find out what that celestial sign means, Gordian went to a nearby town to a local prophet. At the very entrance to the place, he meets a young girl from a prophetic family and she explains to him that the flock of birds that accompanies him is a prediction that he will become king. Hearing that, poor Gordian returned home in disbelief.

After some time, difficult times arose in Phrygia. A fratricidal war broke out, which threatened the self-destruction of the Phrygian people. In order to prevent such an outcome, one prophecy advised the Phrygians to establish a kingdom and to proclaim a man king when they first met him to go to the temple of Zeus in a car. The Phrygians, in their trouble, obey the prophecy and go out in front of the temple of Zeus, expecting the first newcomer in the car. It happened, as predicted, that it was Gordian, when he was immediately welcomed and enthroned as King of Phrygia.

Gordian became a good ruler: he calmed the country, multiplied its wealth, founded the Phrygian dynasty and built the large and luxurious city of Gordian. And his chariot, with the ore on which the yoke was tied so tightly that no one could untie that knot, stood in a place of honor in the temple of Apollo. After that unbreakable knot, which tied Gordian, the established expression Gordian knot was created, with the meaning: “something very complicated; insurmountable difficulty, unsolvable problem; difficult, unsolvable task ”etc.

The second legend, or, one could say, a continuation of the first, tells of Gordian Knot and Alexander the Great of Macedonia (356-323 BC), the greatest military leader of the ancient century and one of the most famous warriors of all time.

The son of Philip II and a disciple of Aristotle, King Alexander the Great conquered and united all of Greece, and then set out on further conquests. Before his arrival in Phrygia, it was prophesied that the one who untied the Gordian knot would rule the whole of Asia. And that honor and glory belonged to him, Alexander the Great. Arriving in Gordion, Alexander toured the temple of Apollo. When he saw the unbreakable rope on the dedicated Gordian chariot, he swung his sword and cut the famous Gordian knot with one blow. Thus, according to legend, he opened his way to the vast expanses of Asia. He first conquered Asia Minor, and then conquered, one after another, the hitherto powerful states: Syria, Egypt and Persia, reaching as far as the distant Indus River. He died in Babylon. Behind him, in addition to great warrior glory, there was also the expression to cut Gordian knot, which means: "to solve a complicated, difficult problem with one move", "to solve a difficult issue by force or in the most immediate way", etc.

Such moves, however, are not always the best. That is why the writer August Chenoa advises in one of his works:

"… That Gordian knot should not be cut, but finely and skillfully unraveled."

Chenoa was probably right. Because, to untangle (untangle) some Gordian knot, ie. to solve a great and difficult social problem without resorting to violence is greater wisdom and heroism than reaching for the sword and force.

Unfaithful Thomas - why is it said

There are a lot of unfaithful Tom in the world, ie. those who are not inclined to believe other people's words until they themselves are convinced of their truth; who, therefore, doubt everything that is not available to their own experience. There are also those who are overly suspicious, who do not believe in anything and find it difficult to accept even quite convincing evidence for a claim. Such born suspects are also called unfaithful Tomas. Therefore, the term unfaithful Thomas in the Serbian language means two things:

1. a man who believes only in his senses, ie. to that which he himself can see, hear or touch, which, therefore, checks everything and accepts nothing in advance, without valid evidence;

2. a man who is an incorrigible suspect, who does not believe in anything.

In that first sense, philosophers, even all true researchers, are unfaithful to Thomas. Since "doubt is the virtue of reason", everyone who cares about the truth must doubt that he could think at all and penetrate deeper into the secrets of the world in which we live. In another sense, the term unfaithful Thomas indicates a negative trait of those who are overly suspicious. Such their attitude towards the world leads to the denial of everything that exists, even the possibility of any knowledge and progress. There are many examples that confirm the first or second meaning of the term unfaithful Thomas in the daily press, literature or in everyday speech, so it is not necessary to list them. In any case, it will be more interesting to say a few words about how that expression came about in general and who was Tom, whose name became a symbol of human suspicion.

The first and true unfaithful Thomas was Thomas the Apostle, one of the twelve disciples of Christ and believers in Christianity. He acquired the attribute of the unbeliever because he was the only one among the apostles who did not immediately believe in the resurrection of Christ. The New Testament (Gospel of John, chapter XX) talks about how Jesus Christ rose from the grave on the third day after the crucifixion, that is, on Sunday. He first appeared to Mary Magdalene with a message to go to his brothers (the apostles) and told them to return to "his Father", i.e. God. He also appeared in front of the students in the evening, while they were sitting in a closed room, and told them: "Peace be with you." Then he showed them his hands and his ribs, which made the disciples rejoice to see the Lord. The Gospel goes on to say:

"And Thomas, who was called the Twin, one of the twelve, was not there with them when Jesus came.

And the other disciples said unto him, We have seen the Lord. And he said unto them, Except I see in his hands the print of the wedge, and put my finger into the print of the wedge, and put my hand into his side;

And after eight days again his disciples were within, and Thomas with them. And Jesus came when the door was shut, and stood among them, and said, Peace be unto you.

Then said Tommy, Stretch out thy finger, and behold my hands; and put forth thine hand now, and put it into my side, and be not unfaithful, but faithful.

And Thomas answered and said unto him, My Lord and my God.

Jesus said unto him, Because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed. Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed. ”

From that biblical narration came the expression unfaithful Thomas. It has remained in the language for centuries and today, as it has already been said, it is used in the meaning: "one who doubts everything, who is filled with disbelief, who does not believe in anything, a skeptic".


• Milan Shipka, Why it is said, sixth edition, Novi Sad: Prometheus, 2010

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So Interesting story

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1 year ago

Can't lie, that was a lot... but wow! so cool! I haven't heard of a good few of those! Like the gordian knot.

What I do know is that even women have an "adams apple" as it is said it is the cartilage of the larynx, but the distinguishing factor is that mens cartilage juts out at about a 15 degrees angle while women's is a slim and invisible 5 degrees! =)

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1 year ago

The article is long but very interesting.

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1 year ago

Wow you just had the will to write. I haven't read such a well-done article in a long time, thank goodness for your efforts.

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1 year ago

I never even thought about why something is said, and we often hear those terms in our speech ...

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1 year ago

'Why is it said' I'm really happy and excited to come across this article........ Adam's apple?! It's really funny to me

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1 year ago

Great information about this article my Dear

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1 year ago

We used to not have emoticons, smilies, various messages of the digital type, but we took care to attract someone's attention with our rich vocabulary. Because the Gospels, the Bible, the typics, are the oldest written documents from which, at the end of each service and Liturgy, lessons were drawn where some events were described and how wise good people solved their problems in accordance with God's laws.

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1 year ago

Is the snake a cursed animal ?, when God did that, God took away her legs and cursed her.

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1 year ago