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Why it says-continued

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1 year ago

My dear friends, judging by the comments and reactions to my last article, I see that you liked it, so I decided to write a sequel. I hope you enjoy.

Ariadne's thread - why it is said

The story of Ariadne's thread, or Ariadne's ball, is connected to the myth of the Attic hero Theseus.

Since, after strong fights and overcoming various obstacles, he happily arrived in Athens, Theseus came across a sad sight. Athens and the whole of Attica were wrapped in black, because just in those days the envoys of the powerful king Minos from Crete arrived to take their bloody tribute for the third time. Every ninth year, namely, seven young men and seven girls had to be sent to Crete by the Athenians to be sacrificed there to the Minotaur, a monster with a human body and a large bull's head, which lived in a huge castle - a labyrinth. Minos imposed that tribute on the Athenians because they killed his son Androgeus. The Athenians, with great sorrow, but unconditionally, paid a bloody tribute until Theseus arrived in the city.

Pitying the poor young men and women, Theseus, in spite of his father's opposition, decided to go with them to Crete, to kill the Minotaur and free the innocent victims, among whom he was himself. Thus, on ships with black sails, as a sign of mourning, the Athenians sent the flower of their youth, and the old king Aegeus sent his only son Theseus. At the parting, he asked him to put white sails on the ship if he killed the Minotaur - to see from afar whether the bloodthirsty monster had disappeared, or whether Theseus had also died as his victim. Before leaving, Theseus, on the advice of the Delphic prophecy, offered a sacrifice to the goddess of beauty Aphrodite and placed himself under her protection.

When the Athenian boys and girls arrived in Crete and stood before the mighty King Minos and his retinue, he immediately noticed the beautiful and stout Theseus, who also dared to take one of the girls brought - Peribeus, the daughter of the Megarian king Alcataeus - for protection from his aggressiveness. Because of his audacity and statement that he is the son of the great god of the sea, Poseidon, and that is why he can oppose anyone, even if it was the son of Zeus himself, the mighty king Minos, Theseus had to do something to confirm it. From the depths of the sea, with Poseidon's help, he took out and handed Minos the thrown ring, thus proving that it was of divine origin.

There was joy among the captured Athenians, but Theseus 'feat was rejoiced more than any of them by the beautiful Minos' daughter Ariadne. In her, as soon as she saw Theseus for the first time, a great love flared up, which was aroused by Theseus' protector, the goddess Aphrodite. Approaching the Attic hero secretly, Ariadne revealed her feelings to him and promised to help him kill the Minotaur if he took her as his wife and took her to Athens. When Theseus agreed to this, Ariadne gave him a sharp sword and a ball of thread, with which he would return when he killed the Minotaur before he could tear and devour the sacrificed young men and women. Without that thread, no one, even if he managed to destroy the Minotaur, could find a way out of the labyrinth in which he lived.

After tying him to a rock at the entrance by the end, which will show him the way back, Theseus set out for the labyrinth with the young Athenians. After a long wandering through the intricate and dark corridors of the Minotaur's castle, he finally came across a bloodthirsty monster, which greeted him with a terrible roar. In a difficult fight, Theseus finally managed to grab the Minotaur by the horns and stab his sharp sword, obtained from Ariadne, right into his heart and thus kill him. Then, together with the overjoyed Athenians, following in the footsteps of the thread that unwound at the entrance, he came to light. In order to avoid Minos' rage over the murder of the Minotaur and prevent the pursuit, Theseus drilled the bottoms of all the Corinthian ships and, taking Ariadne as his wife, set out with his entourage for Greece.

The joint life of Theseus and Ariadne did not last long. There are various stories about their parting on their return to Athens. One of them reads as follows:

"Already pregnant, Ariadne had a hard time with the sea. When a storm hit the ship near Cyprus, Theseus landed Ariadne on the island, and he stayed to save the ship. A strong gust of wind threw the hero into the sea and separated him from his beloved woman for a while. The islanders took care of Minos' pregnant daughter and, to comfort her, brought her letters allegedly written to her by her husband. By the time Theseus succeeded in bringing the ship back to the island, Ariadne was already dead. Her death shook the hero deeply; he distributed money to the islanders and ordered them to offer sacrifices to Ariadne, and then, in her part, he placed two statues, one of bronze and one of silver. "

Legend goes on to say that Theseus, due to his great sorrow for Ariadne, forgot to point out white sails instead of black ones before entering the Attic waters, as a sign of his victory. That was the cause of another tragedy. When he saw Theseus' ship with black sails, King Aegeus, thinking that his son had died, threw himself into the sea in distress and drowned. Since then, they say, after the king of the Aegean, the waters along the Attic coast have been called the Aegean Sea.

Along with that name, behind the exciting story of Theseus and Ariadne, the expression Ariadne's thread, or Ariadne's ball, remained in the language, meaning: "saving means", ie "the way of deliverance from a difficult and complicated situation".

The motif of Ariadne is often treated in art: from her statue from the IV century BC. e., which is kept in the Vatican, through Titian's painting of Dionysus and Ariadne to the opera by Richard Strauss Ariadne on Naxos. There is one work in Serbian literature that follows the myth of Ariadne with its idea. It is a novel by Radmila Popović, Ariadne's Threads.

Throwing trees and stones - why is it said

When someone is sharply condemned for something, when they are fiercely attacked, it is usually said that they throw trees and stones (at him). In the dictionaries of the Serbian language, that phrase is recorded in combination with different verbs, but always with the same meaning: "sharply, fiercely attack, condemn someone". So it is said: to throw (or lift, scatter, pour) trees and stones (at someone). The SANU dictionary also cites these examples from our literature, more precisely from the works of our writers and publicists: Jovan Popović, Lazar Komarčić, Radoje Domanović, Vladan Đorđević, Stevan Sremec, Stjepan Mitrov Ljubiša, etc .:

"He was an irreconcilable oppositionist, and many (were) declared him mad and threw trees and stones at him." (J. Popović) "On that, Mališ raises trees and stones." (L. Komarčić) "Public opinion condemns wood and stones to painters, everything enters the battle line against that attack." (R. Domanović) "Deputies who poured trees and stones on the rulers until then took to the streets victoriously." (V. Djordjevic) On him and trees and stones. " (S. Sremac)

In some examples, such as in the work of Stjepan Mitrov Ljubiša, trees are left out, so it says: "Let the peasants throw stones at what they do not like."

The phrase throwing trees and stones (or just stones), in that or in other verb connections, originated from an ancient custom, which was known in ancient times. It was the stoning of the guilty, a severe and shameful death penalty, applied to the ancient Egyptians, Persians, Jews, Greeks, Romans, Gauls and other ancient peoples. In that way, the most serious criminals were punished: murderers of parents, traitors of the homeland, blasphemers and adulterers. There was also a well-established stoning ritual. The convict was usually driven out of the city to the place of execution of the sentence, under guard and accompanied by an angry mob. The persecution from the city itself symbolized the expulsion of the culprit from the community he sinned against. There, at the place of execution, all those present threw stones at him (and judging by the given phrase, trees and other solid objects) until the unfortunate man died in agony. Then everyone, morally relieved, would return home, while the crowd under which the convict lay was considered a place of curse.

Based on that custom, which once existed in our country, a common expression was created in the Serbian language to throw trees and stones (at someone), as well as others similar to it, with the already mentioned meaning: "sharply, fiercely attack, condemn someone".

Red thread - why say

The established term red thread is often used in our country, not only in fiction but also in journalism, daily press, and even in ordinary speech.

J. Matešić records three examples in the Phraseological Dictionary. The first is Ujević's: "… that motif always runs like a red thread." The other two are from the newspaper: "And insecurity, like a red thread, runs through all parts of the film…" and "Every musician in an orchestra must know the red thread of music."

The term red thread, meaning: "the main idea (thought, theme, etc.) that runs through a work", "a motif that is constantly repeated", or, as it would be called "foreign" - "leitmotif", the first used by Johann Wolfgang Goethe, in his novel Soulmates (German: Die Wahlverwandtschaften, 1809). Explaining in the introductory part of the same sentence (in a broader comparison) what that expression means and where it came from, the great German poet writes:

"All the accessories of the royal fleet, from the anchor ropes to the thinnest ropes, are judged in such a way that a red thread runs through them along its entire length, which cannot be pulled out without falling off everything else; so even the smallest piece of rope can be seen to belong to the English crown. ”

This is followed by his comparison: "This is exactly how the red thread of sympathy and affection runs through all of Otilia's diary„ "

The data presented by Goethe, in order to explain the mentioned comparison, completely correspond to reality. In the 17th century, the Admiralty of the British Navy issued a strict order that a conspicuous red thread must be woven into every naval rope belonging to the English Royal Navy. The reasons for this seemingly strange order were not of an aesthetic nature (to make the ropes on the ships of the royal fleet more beautiful). The basic motive for this order is much more prosaic: the interference of the red thread was the only way to stop the mass theft and resale of ship's ropes, which sailors exchanged for drinks (whiskey, rum and beer) in port taverns, or gave them for money. Since they were marked with red thread, the ship's ropes could no longer be alienated without being noticed. Violators were easily caught in the act and severely punished on the spot.

After Goethe, the term red thread - of course, in a figurative sense: "the basic thought or idea that runs through a work", or "a motif that is constantly repeated" - began to be used and spread by French journalists, publicists and speakers, and then their English, German and Russian colleagues, and then our people, so that term is now established in many languages, including, of course, Serbian.

Precious stone - why it is said

The term gemstone, as well as several other expressions (same yardstick, on the same ledge, posters as the year), differs in its origin from most of the established expressions explained here. It is not taken from the Bible, nor from Greek myths and legends, nor did it originate in literature or in certain life circumstances; it is not related to certain historical events and personalities, folk beliefs or superstitions. It was created by preserving the old meaning of the adjective drag, which, except in petrified expressions and some derived words, can generally no longer be found in the modern Serbian language.

When we say dear today, we usually mean something that is loved, towards which one feels love or affection. This adjective can also mean kind, lovely, sweet, or good, attentive, or pleasant, pleasant, or friendly, cordial, even kind, and so on. But none of these meanings corresponds to the meaning of the adjective drag in the expression precious stone. Namely, everyone knows well that a precious stone (a decorative mineral used in jewelry making) is, in fact, "precious, expensive (stone)", ie that it is "of great value", "precious" and the like. That is why it is said that something that has too high a price is "expensive as a precious stone".

That meaning of the adjective drag is mentioned in the Dictionary of Matica Srpska only in the fourth place, and only in the petrified expressions precious stone and precious metal, with the interpretation: "who is worth a lot, who has great value, precious, precious". In the SANU Dictionary, such a meaning is marked as obsolete, which is completely true.

In the past, however, this was not the case. The adjective drag, meaning "expensive", "precious", was often used. This is evidenced by numerous examples in the great JAZU Dictionary, where, among other things, it says:

"DEAR, adj., Are the two main meanings as in both Latin and Germanic languages ​​(compare German teuer, English dear, etc.), one: who is worth much (objectively), and the other: whom the other loves (subjectively); it is generally thought that the former is older, and that it has become the latter. ”

Today, in the first, older meaning, the adjective drag is no longer used, except in rare cases, among which is the term precious stone.

It should also be said that the adjective drag, meaning "expensive", "expensive", is used to make, and is still in use, several well-known words, such as jewel ("precious stone"), jeweler ("a craftsman who makes jewelry and other decorative items made of precious stones and precious metals "and" the one who sells such items "), then a jewelry store" shop where jewels are sold ", whether it is" precious stones ": diamonds, diamonds, rubies, sapphires, etc. , or "precious metals": silver, gold, platinum, or precious objects in general, such as pearls), then jewelery, jewelery (products), etc.

In some other Slavic languages, unlike Serbian, that meaning has been well preserved to this day. Thus, for example, "expensive" in Slovenian is said to be dear. And in the Russian language dorogoi (read: "dear"), in addition to "appreciate", it means - "expensive". In our country, as it could be seen, it remained only in the stated words, derivatives, and in petrified expressions. That is why it is called a precious stone instead of a precious stone or something else.

Stupid to the brim - why say

In our street jargon, one can often hear someone being said to be stupid to the brim. It is not difficult to decipher that this expression, which is used in our country mainly in argo (speech of narrow groups or certain environments), means: "completely stupid, completely, completely, completely stupid". However, it remains unclear why it is said to the board instead of the end or something like that.

At first, one might think that it is related to the expression he lacks (lacks) a board (in his head), which means that someone is stupid, limited, silly, crazy, unreasonable, etc. However, these two phrases have nothing to do with each other (except that they coincide in the word board). This can be proved by the fact that there is also the term drunk to the board, with which J. Matešić, in the Phraseological Dictionary, gives a short interpretation: "completely drunk". It is also said to unscrew or unscrew (eg radio) to the board, again in the meaning: "completely, completely". (This refers to amplifying the tone by turning the "knob" to the limit.)

As can be seen, the connection to the board in all these cases means: "completely, completely, completely, to the end". Where does that meaning come from?

Car drivers will remember another expression that includes the one next to the board. It is gas to the board or, more completely: press (shut off) the gas to the board. The meaning is again essentially the same: "do something to the end, completely", and that is in this case: "press the gas, more precisely, the accelerator pedal, to the very end" - in order to achieve maximum speed. And this is exactly where the key is to explain the origin of phrases that have a connection to the board in their composition.

Unlike all other mentioned expressions, in the expression gas to board - the word board is used in the right sense. Namely, in car mechanic and driver's speech (jargon), the surface on which the accelerator pedal rests (in cars and motor vehicles in general) is called. Therefore, pressing the gas to the board literally means: "push the gas lever, or the fuel supply, to the base (board)", which means - to the very end.

By transferring to other cases (where there is really no board) the connection to the board has acquired a new, transferred meaning, which is observed in many expressions, such as: stupid to the board, drunk to the board, obsessed (ie "exclusive, impatient") to boards, then: unscrew (or unscrew) to the board, sin to the board, stray to the board, etc.

All these expressions are characterized by two things: that they belong mainly to the colloquial language (argo or jargon) and that their source is in the field of technology (motoring), according to which they belong to a group of phrases that are very rare.

Go from Pontius to Pilate - why is it said

Pontius Pilate, a man whose name is immortalized in the phrase in question here, was the Roman procurator (governor) of Judea, from the age of 26 to 36, at the time when Jesus Christ preached the new faith. The founder of the Christian religion provoked, with his ideas and actions, the wrath of the Jewish powerful, "writers and Pharisees", for which reason he was caught and brought before Pontius Pilate to judge him. In the New Testament, in the Gospel of Luke, it is written:

And all the multitude rose up, and took him to Pilate.

And they began to accuse him, saying, "We have found this our apostasy, and forbids to pay tribute to Caesar, and says that he is Christ the King."

Pilate, however, did not accept the accusation, saying to the chief priests and the people, "I find no fault in this man." Despite this, prosecutors and the crowd insisted on condemning him. Pilate then tried to somehow "get away", declaring himself "incompetent". When he heard in the investigation that Jesus was a Galilean, he sent him to the competent Galilean ruler, Herod Antipas, who was staying in Jerusalem at that time. Herod also did not find Jesus guilty, and "embarrassed him and his soldiers, and mocked him, put on a white robe, and sent him back to Pilate."

Pilate had nowhere else to go. The leaders and the crowd insisted on crucifying Jesus. The evangelist Luke describes the end of the dramatic trial of Jesus Christ as follows:

"And Pilate said again that he would let Jesus go.

And they cried, saying, Crucify him, crucify him.

And he said unto them the third time, Why, what evil hath he done? I found nothing on it that deserved death; therefore, to knock him out and let him go.

And they cried out with a loud cry, and demanded that he be crucified; and their cry prevailed, and the chief priests.

And Pilate judged it to be as they desired. "

It was from that biblical story that the expression to go from Pontius to Pilate arose, which is used today in the meaning: "to seek, to wander for some goal, to go from unkind to unloved, to break thresholds"; "To address many, with various vicissitudes, to ask for help and information without success."

In professional magazines, by the way, the question is often asked why it is said to go from Pontius to Pilate, when it is known that it is the name and surname of the same person. How can one go from one person to himself and not to another? Wouldn't it be more logical for that expression, given the context in which it originated, to go from Pontius to Herod, or from Pontius to Antipas (as stated in a novel by Stevan Jakovljević)?

Philologist Ivan Klein once suggested that "former religious students certainly did not listen very carefully to this story, so instead of Pontius to Herod, the term from Pontius to Pilate was established, not only in our country but also in Italian, German and other languages."

Professor Dragana Mršević-Radović, in the journal Naš jezik, gives a much more detailed explanation:

"At the time of the emergence of expression in the consciousness of the speaker, there was knowledge about the unity of the person based on the biblical text, but also the awareness of another 'implicit' participant in the event. It is clear that it is Herod, that is. that Christ went from Pontius to Herod, and that Herod ‘sent him back’ to Pilate, as stated in the Gospel. In this way, Christ's movement "circle" is clearly presented, and by closing the circle, the meaning of "unsuccessful" is motivated (to ask for help, understanding, etc.). Only thanks to the possibility of such a double semantic interpretation, this structure could become phraseological and be maintained in language. ”

To make the interpretation even more convincing, the author finally points out:

"I think it is no longer bold to assume that there was a popularly written text describing this episode from the life of Christ, and in which such an expression was used with a concrete description of Christ's journey from Pontius (Pilate through Herod) to (Pontius Pilate) , and that he 'imposed' himself in both Serbo-Croatian and Slovenian. "

The same yardstick - why say

The word arshin is mainly used in the expression the same arshin, as well as in the semantically opposite relation different arshin. In the Serbian speaking practice, the expressions one arshin, equal arshin, unequal arshin, etc. are still found. The key word in all these expressions, among which the same arshin is the most common, is certainly arshin, so the question arises as to what it means, and how and from where it entered the Serbian language. Based on the given examples, it can easily be concluded that this is a measure or measure, which is, in fact, the yardstick. It is a very old measure, which, except in established expressions, such as the same yardstick, has not been used for a long time. Therefore, it is necessary to say a few words about her.

According to encyclopedic manuals and dictionaries of the Serbian language, arshin was a measure that was once used in eastern countries (mostly in Turkey and Persia), and then in Russia and Serbia. The word itself comes from the Turkish language (arsin) and means "elbow". This is the distance from the tips of the fingers to the shoulders. This measure was also known in our country under the domestic name elbow. It was not uniform everywhere and ranged mostly between 65 and 75 centimeters, somewhere even higher, as in which country or area of ​​use. Thus, for example, in Turkey it was 68.5 cm (today 1 m), and in Russia 71.1 cm. There, 1500 yards made up one species (1066.5 m). In Persia, the yardstick exceeded one meter (it was exactly 1.12 m). In our country, too, there were arshins of different sizes: tailor's (tailor's) - 65 cm, bazaar (commercial) - 68 cm and dundjerski (construction) - 75.8 cm.

Thanks to the fact that arshin, as it can be seen, was not a uniform measure (like, say, a meter, etc.), the expression same, equal or different, unequal arshin could have arisen in the Serbian language. Hence, the warning to those who are inclined to take different positions towards the same actions or phenomena and pronounce different judgments is sent as a pictorial message that they should measure with the same or the same yardstick. The use of different standards in society, and especially in politics, is always a morally dubious act. Therefore, it can be said that the yardstick (in the same or equal relationship, one yardstick) has become not only a measure of length, which it has always been, but also a measure of fairness and honesty.

Pull out the thick end - why say

It is one of the phrases, if not the only one, that can have two meanings. In addition, the opposite !? Namely, in the dictionaries of the Serbian language, it has been noted that to draw a thicker end means: 1) "to get a better, more valuable part during the division" and 2) "to pass very badly" or "to suffer", "to suffer". The first meaning, as the expression itself shows, is related to the division of something, so then it is quite logical that in that situation it is better to get a thicker than a thinner end, that is. more than less. There, then, is all clear. The question then arises as to where the other, opposite meaning came from.

This meaning of the phrase to draw a thicker end can only be interpreted if another phrase, also common in the Serbian language, is taken into account. This is a well-known saying: a beating has two ends. She warns us that the fight with batons or batons can, in a literal, but also in a figurative sense, end in two ways: either favorably or unfavorably, that is. good or bad. Since the beating is usually held by the thinner end, the one who is beaten and who, therefore, passes badly, really pulls out the thicker end. Hence the meaning of the mentioned expression.

It is interesting that in the same sense ("pass badly", etc.), the term to draw a thinner end is used, mostly in Croatian speech practice. It probably came from the first meaning. If someone pulls out the thick end, it means that they get a bigger, and thus a better part. He, therefore, is doing better. And the one who pulls out the thinner end, logically, does worse. Therefore, the first, positive meaning of the expression to draw (draw) the thicker end arose in the situation of some division, and the second, negative ("bad pass", etc.) according to the expression of beating has two ends.

It should be said that there is another similar expression. It is to draw a shorter end, which always means: "pass badly" and the like. As linguists have already clarified, it arose from the custom of awarding unpleasant jobs or duties by pulling out sticks or matches, one of which is shorter than the others. He who draws a shorter match or a stick is a loser and must come to terms with the execution of an unpleasant job or task. Hence, the negative meaning of the expression to draw a shorter end is quite logical.

Whichever way it turns, it is not good to pull out either the thicker end (beating) or the thinner (more precisely: shorter) end when pulling out matches. It is only at what division it is good to draw thicker, ie. bigger, better end. And when the term draw the thick end has one meaning, when the other has another meaning, it can usually be concluded based on the context itself.

The apple of discord - why it is said

The term apple of discord, which originates from Greek mythology, is used in the meaning: "cause, reason or occasion of quarrel", "subject of dispute or disagreement", etc. Since time immemorial, there has been love, but also hatred and discord between people and nations. In ancient times, when it was believed that nature and human destinies (happiness or misfortune in life) are governed by various divine forces, there were, among many ancient peoples, gods of light, lightning and thunder, wind, dawn, beauty, love, and even - hatred and discord. In Greek mythology, the goddess of discord (discord) was Eris, the daughter of Night and the mother of many evils: Sorrow, Oblivion, Hunger, Pain, Quarrel, Fight, Battle, Murder, Bloodshed, Lies, Lawlessness, Blindness and Perjury. That evil goddess, sister and faithful companion of the god of war Ares, with one of her actions, which will be discussed here, indirectly caused the great Trojan War. That war was fought by the Greeks and the Trojans - both with the help of the conflicting gods, who were the first to start it all.

It happened at the celebration on the occasion of the marriage between the sea goddess Thetis and the Thessalian king Peleus, the parent of the greatest Hellenic hero Achilles. The celebrations on Pelion were attended, as usual, by all the Olympian gods, among them Hera, the sister and lawful wife of the supreme god Zeus, then Athena, the goddess of wisdom, and Aphrodite, the goddess of beauty and sensual love. The wedding torch was lit by Hera, and then merriment ensued. It was celebrated with divine food and drinks and with the song of the muses. And everything would have gone in the best order if the evil Eris, who was not invited, did not come up with a hellish plan: she threw a golden apple with the inscription "The Most Beautiful" among the guests. And it is precisely that apple that will become the subject of great controversy. Which of the guests present is the most beautiful? The three of them - Hera, Athena and Aphrodite - each for themselves, were considered the most beautiful. Each of them was convinced that she was more beautiful than the others and that was why she had an apple. A dispute arose and someone had to rule. Since none of the gods wanted to be the judge, Zeus ordered the conflicting goddesses to be taken to Mount Ida, the mortal Paris - to decide which one was the most beautiful.

Paris, by the way, was the son of the Trojan king Priam. Because of the prophecy that he would cause the downfall of Troy, his father ordered that he be killed immediately after his birth, but he still survived, growing up in the mountains with beasts and shepherds. Paris greeted the gods with fear, who came with a request to make a decision in their great dispute. In order to get the apple, the interested goddesses promised him various rewards, emphasizing their virtues and possibilities. Hera offered him dominion over all of Asia and the rest of the world, which she would obtain with Zeus 'help, Athens great war victories and trophies, and Aphrodite - the love of the most beautiful mortal, Zeus' daughter Helena, wife of the Spartan king Menelaus.

Paris did not hesitate much. Between greatness and glory, on the one hand, and love, on the other, he decided for love, that is. for the beautiful Helen. Therefore, he declared Aphrodite the most beautiful and handed her a golden apple, thus provoking the wrath of the other two goddesses - Hera and Athena. Aphrodite fulfilled the given promise: Paris and Helena met and great love ignited. Then the Trojan prince, with Helen's consent, carried out the kidnapping and took her with him. Due to that, the Trojan War broke out, in which all the conflicting gods would be involved.

The root cause of that great conflict was, as could be seen, Eris's golden apple or the apple of discord. And from then until today, the term apple of discord, as already mentioned, is used in the meaning: "cause, reason or occasion of quarrel", "subject of dispute or disagreement" and the like.

Judas' kiss - why is it said

Judas was one of the twelve apostles ("believers") of Christianity. It is, in fact, about Judas Iscariot, because the Bible mentions several people under that name. This was Judas the apostle. In the Gospel of Matthew (New Testament, translated by Vuk Stefanović Karadžić) it is written:

"And the names of the twelve apostles are these: The first Simon, who is called Peter, and Andrew his brother; James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother;

Philip and Bartholomew; Thomas and Matthew the tax collector; James of Alphaeus, and Levi called Thaddaeus;

Simon the Canaanite, and Judas Iscariot, who betrayed him. "

Judas Iscariot was, therefore, the one who betrayed Jesus Christ. In the mentioned Gospel of Matthew, this event is described as follows:

"Then the chief priests and the scribes and the elders of the people came together to the court of the chief priest named Caiaphas.

And they consulted that they might take Jesus by subtilty, and kill him.

And they said, Not on the feast day, lest the people revolt.

The chiefs, however, did not know who Jesus was.

"Then one of the twelve, named Judas Iscariot, went to the chief priests,

And he said, What wilt thou give me, that I may deliver him to you? And they gave him thirty pieces of silver.

After that, Judas waited for the opportunity to fulfill his promise. At the last (secret) supper, Jesus prophesied that one of the apostles would betray him, targeting Judas. That soon came true. At that very moment Jesus foresaw, saying to the disciples,

“Get up to go; behold, my traitor is at hand.

And while he yet spake, lo, Judas, one of the twelve, came, and with him a great multitude with knives and chariots of the chief priests and elders of the people.

And he that betrayed him gave them a sign, saying, Whomsoever I shall kiss, that same is he; hold it.

And straightway coming to Jesus, he said, Hail, master; and kisses him.

And Jesus said unto him, Friend; what are you doing here Then came they, and laid hands on Jesus, and took him.

When he later heard that Jesus had been condemned and executed, the traitor Judas repented and returned thirty pieces of silver to those to whom he had been sold. He threw them in the church, saying, "I have sinned by betraying true blood." The chiefs themselves considered the money dirty and cursed, so they said: "They should not be put in the church treasury, because it was taken for blood." Thus was born the term Judah's money or Judah's money.

Judas Iscariot could not wash the moral stain off himself even by taking his own life (he hanged himself after returning the silver coin). Thus, his name became a sign of a traitor in general, and it remained in the established expression Judas' kiss, which is still used today in the meaning: "treacherous, insincere kiss", or "treacherous act under the veil of friendship".

Stumbling block - why it is said

This expression usually means "difficulty that someone encounters in work, in some endeavors, etc.". The stumbling block is also explained in the Matica Srpska Dictionary as "the main difficulty in achieving what".

The term comes from the Bible. It is already found in the Old Testament, in the Book of the Prophet Isaiah (translated by Đuro Daničić), where, in the eighth chapter, it reads as follows:

“Lord of hosts, saints; and may He be your fear and apprehension.

And it will be a sanctuary for you, and a stumbling block and a rock of offense. ”

And in the New Testament, in the Epistle of the Apostle Paul to the Romans (translated by Vuk Stefanović Karadžić), in the ninth chapter, it is written:

"And Israel, seeking the law of justice, has not grasped the law of justice.

Why? For he seeks not by faith but by works of the law; because they stumbled upon a stumbling block,

As it is written, Behold, a stone of stumbling and a rock of offense is in Zion; and whoever believes in him will not be ashamed. "

Therefore, the stumbling block is, according to the Bible, an obstacle set by God so that people would remain firm and consistent in their faith, so that they would only fear him and be humble in the fear of God. From there, a broader meaning later developed: "obstacle, difficulty in general" or, as stated in the Dictionary of Matica Srpska, "the (main) difficulty in achieving what".

The phrase stumbling block is often equated in speech with another similar phrase, which is also taken from the Bible - the stone of trouble, meaning: "cause or occasion of quarrel, or discord."

With such an explanation, J. Matešić, in the Phraseological Dictionary, gives, among others, this example: "… grades and grading have been a stumbling block since school and schooling."

These examples from the daily press also testify to such significance: "Migration is a stumbling block for the new government", "Justice - the biggest stumbling block", "Iran as a stumbling block for the USA and Europe", and so on. Taxes, laws, borders, customs regulations, overtime work, property, money, religion, etc. are also mentioned in newspaper headlines as a stumbling block or a stone of trouble (which means disagreement, discord).

The wheel of fortune - why it is said

The well-known song Osman by the Dubrovnik poet Ivan Gundulić mentions, among other things, the wheel of fortune. Gundulić says (Singing first):

"A circle of happiness around

spinning does not fit:

who would burn, here she is,

and he that cometh down riseth up.

In those verses, and the verses that follow, the poet points to the transience of everything that exists, even every force and evil, that is, to the constant changes in the world. So he continues:

"Now the tip of the saber crown hangs,

now the tip of the sword's crown is falling,

now the slave is exalted to the kingdom,

and whoever the emperor would do is now a slave. ”

Thus, Gundulić, encouraged by the defeat of the Turks in the battle of Hotin (1621), already in the first half of the 17th century, ie two hundred years earlier, hinted at the downfall of the powerful Turkish Empire and Turkish domination in our area. The deeper historical meaning and artistic values ​​of his singing could be written and spoken about at length. But it is a job for literary historians. We are only interested here in the expression circle of happiness, which appears in the above verses.

It should be said immediately that this expression is not the fruit of Gundulić's poetic inspiration, but of the established understanding of life that ruled in his time, and which century before. In accordance with this understanding, the idea of ​​transience and constant changes in the world is presented in the form of the so-called point of destiny. At that point (or circle), people tied to spiders can be seen rising or falling, depending on where they are. By turning the wheel or "wheel of destiny" in the Middle Ages, the collapse of ancient civilizations (Assyrian, Phoenician, Egyptian, etc.), the change of various forms of government, and even the personal destiny of ordinary people were interpreted. Namely, it was believed that in history everything revolves: peace gives birth to wealth, wealth gives birth to laziness, laziness causes quarrels, quarrelsomeness leads to war, which ends in peace, so that wealth that gives birth to laziness arises again… And so in certain cycles everything constantly repeating.

According to that understanding, a person's destiny also depends on the circle of happiness, more precisely: on the place where he is, that is. whether it is tied to the part of the point that rises, or to the part that falls.

Such medieval representations of human destiny and the destiny of peoples and civilizations, created somewhere in the middle of the second millennium, ie around 1500, have, in fact, their roots in Greek and Roman mythology. They are associated with the cult of the goddess Fortune, originally the Italian deity of bliss, fertility and women, who was later revered in ancient Rome as the deity of happiness and destiny. Therefore, Fortuna was identified with the Greek goddess of fortune, Tycho.

Fortuna is usually represented with signs of the variability of destiny: primarily a circle, a point or a circle that rotates. Later, in the Middle Ages, the already mentioned point of destiny or the circle of happiness developed from such a play, which still lives today, less often as a picture, and more as an established expression in language. This expression is also mentioned in the Dictionary of Matica Srpska, with the explanation that it means "the instability of happiness in life".

Who shoes, who both - why do they say

In order to understand that phrase, it is necessary, first of all, to know what sandals are and what both are. Mostly everyone knows about sandals: it is that light rubber peasant footwear that is fastened with straps or stiffness to the feet, which is why it is said that when moving on the road, "sandals" should be tightened. Especially famous are the Serbian sandals, the so-called spikes. For both, however, rarely anyone knows, especially the younger world, because both have not been worn in our country for a long time. These were leg wrappers that were worn instead of socks: ordinary pieces of cloth in which the feet were wrapped so that the sandals would not scratch them. Both were also called insoles made of cloth, which were lined with sandals, and later with shoes. When that is known, the question arises as to what it means and how the phrase kom opanci, kom obojci came about.

As for the meaning itself, it is, at least to those who use the term, quite clear. The expression kom opanci, kom obojci, or vice versa, kom obojci, kom opanci, means "who gets what, pulls out, how who passes (in a conflict), and how it happens, how it turns out". It is clear, therefore, that the expression kom opanci, kom obojci expresses the possible outcome of a conflict in which one enters consciously, with the possibility of going well (ie to get opanci, or to stay in opanci), but also with the risk to be lost (i.e., to whom only both remain, or, more likely, to remain only in both, since they kill and strip him). The latter could also be the original meaning of the expression in question here.

In Serbian folk proverbs, Vuk Karadžić gives the following explanation: "To both of them, to whom are the shoes. When it is said that someone will fight or quarrel with someone, then who will be stronger, or who will get what. It seems that once two people were fighting over shoes, so one of them grabbed both shoes and the other shoes. "

And that explanation seems convincing. Because, in any case, it is better in what kind of robbery to get sandals (which are more valuable) than both, as it is better in the fight to the death (because the phrase we are talking about here implies such a fierce fight) to stay in sandals, therefore alive, but without opanaks - dead and emaciated, ie. only in both.

Crocodile tears - why it is said

It is a phrase that means false pity, false compassion, extreme hypocrisy. A man who pretends to be upset and saddened by someone's accident, but in fact secretly rejoices in it, who publicly mourns the victim of his own violence or intrigue, is said to shed (or shed) crocodile tears. There are many life situations to which this expression refers, because people often, instead of real pity and help to those in need, shed crocodile tears heartlessly and transformatively. It is necessary to say a few words about how this unusual expression came about.

The crocodile is a terrible beast, bloodthirsty and heartless, so it is strange that it can cry at all, let alone pity someone, even with a pretense. That is why, at first glance, it is difficult to understand how, then, false tears are connected with the crocodile. However, there are reasons for that. The crocodile really cries sometimes, but not out of sadness and grief, but because its tear and salivary glands are in a close relationship, so when it devours its prey, it reflexively tears, sheds big tears. People living in areas where there are crocodiles noticed this phenomenon, so they began to believe that crocodiles mourn their victims. Hence, then, the expression crocodile tears, with the meaning: "false tears", "false pity".

In addition to crocodile tears, there is also the term crocodile laughter, meaning: "false, insincere laughter". This example is noted in the Dictionary of Matica Srpska: "As soon as we were left alone, she burst into her crocodile laughter…" It is easy to explain how this expression came about. Since crocodile tears are "false tears", the adjective crocodile got the meaning - "false", so, then, false laughter became - crocodile laughter.

Swan song - why say

The last important work or work of a creator before his death (or at the end of an active artistic, scientific or any other creation) is usually called a swan song. In the Serbian language, this phrase is very often used, not only to denote the last work of a creator, but also the last manifestation of any talent in general, such as, say, the last great game of a generation of athletes, football teams and the like. Thus, the sentences can be read in the newspaper: "It will turn out that it was a swan song of a great team", "It was my last performance on the stage, my swan song" and the like. Even, in its time, the last steam train ride on the narrow-gauge line Capljina-Niksic was followed in the press by a sentimental text entitled Swan's Song of the Tireless Cire.

The phrase swan song is very old. It was also known to the ancient Greeks and Romans. They believed that swans before death let out voices reminiscent of a beautiful melodic song-lament. According to some myths, all swans, when they feel that their end is near and the hour of death is coming, return to the river Meandar (in Asia Minor) to sing their last song there. Aesop noted in a fable (6th century BC): "They say that swans sing before death." And Clytemnestra, the heroine of Aeschylus' tragedy Agamemnon, says of the pre-death inspired words of the slave Cassandra: "She who, like a swan, sang her last, mournful, death song." The phrase swan's song was used in one place by Cicero in his work On the Speaker.

That the beliefs about the pre-death song of the swan, translated into one beautiful and picturesque expression, are not without grounds, testifies the great German naturalist Alfred Edmund Bram. In the well-known work Animal Life, he, among other things, describes in detail the life of swans, emphasizing this observation of the German researcher Schillings:

"The yellow-billed swan not only delights the viewer with its beautiful appearance" but also with the open, different and clean tones of its voice that appear on every occasion. " I will die. On such occasions, I listened to the lamentations of numerous voices from a distance many long winter evenings and all night long… That singing call reminded me of the pleasant sound of a bell, of the sounds of an instrument. ”

Based on that description and other data, Brem concludes:

"Everything that is said about the song of the dying swan is not a fabrication, because the last sighs of the mortally wounded swan twist in the form of a singing melody."

"After all that" - concludes the great naturalist - "the story of the swan's song turns out to be very true. It is, obviously, based on reality, but poetry and fairy tales have taken it to another form. A dying swan cannot be considered a real singer, but his last sigh is as melodic as any other he produces. ”

Swans, therefore, at least those yellow-billed swans (so-called clickers), still die singing. This fact was, as it could be seen, a support for creating the established expression of the swan song, which, as it has already been said, means: "the last significant work, a great experience at the end of one's career, life".

Low kick - why do you say

Established expressions in language usually have their roots in folk customs and beliefs, in religion and mythology, or in historical events. There are very few of them who come from the world of sports. One of them is a low kick. This expression is related to the most popular martial art - boxing. The rules of that sports discipline, namely, prohibit "low blows", ie. shooting the opponent with fists lower than the chest. It is especially forbidden to hit the plexus, where there is an important nerve entanglement, the injury of which can cause tragic consequences. A stronger blow to that part of the body (blow to the plexus) causes fainting, and often cardiac arrest, as a result of which even death can occur. That is why it is a very immoral act, which is resorted to only by those who have neither the strength nor the talent to fight correctly and fairly.

The term low blow (more often in the plural: low blows) was transferred from sports to other areas, so today it is used in all occasions when we want to say how a participant in a competition of any kind (whether it is a controversy, a struggle for work place, position, etc.) serves by illicit and dishonest means. Such people usually, instead of using arguments, try to morally humiliate their opponent, to destroy him by presenting dirty details and planting the lowest kind. The effect is usually the opposite: the moral stain falls precisely on those who use dishonorable means, who resort to low blows.

In troubled times, in which many values, including human morals, are degraded, low blows are common. Thus, J. Matešić, in the Phraseological Dictionary, with the determinant low blow (accompanied by the explanation that it is an "unfair / dirty attack on whose reputation, in whose honor") gave this characteristic example: "There is, indeed, fair competition, in the clear, in front of impartial observers, with pure arguments and without low blows. ” And the writer of aphorisms, Srećko Lazari, expressed, wittily and caustically, another great truth: "In high society, there are the most low blows."

Turn green melon - why say

In the second edition of the Serbian Dictionary (1852), Vuk Stefanović Karadžić cited the following saying along with the word watermelon: j. it will fail. ” The same saying, only in a slightly different form, and with another determinant (ruin), was noted in the first edition of the mentioned dictionary (1818), this time with an explanation in German and Latin: “you will turn green melon (du wirst nicht gut fahren; male succedet tibi) ”, which again essentially means:“ you will not have a good time ”or“ you do not write well ”.

The phrase turn green melon is often used in our country without the provision green, so we only speak turn green, in the same sense: "evil to pass, perish", "suffer". There are many examples of such use in our speaking practice and in literature. The SANU Dictionary states this confirmation from the work of Milovan Glisic: "Even if you find that I am the cause of that, then I have picked a watermelon for you." The same phrase, in exactly such a (narrower) form, can be found in several places in the great four-volume novel The Time of Death by Dobrica Cosic, otherwise a masterpiece of Serbian fiction. In the novel The Sun is Far Away by the same writer, there is a broader version - turn a green melon: "If these rule, we will grow a green melon."

How the term obrati (zelen) melon came into being was explained by M. S. Lalević in the pre-war series of the magazine Naš jezik (No. 2, 1934, 282). He says: "He picked a green watermelon" means that someone did the job wrongly "similar to a gardener who picks a watermelon early". From that, the meaning could be easily developed: "to have a bad time", "to have a bad time", "to fail", "to suffer", etc.

As can be seen, the phrase turn (green) watermelon is semantically similar to the phrase found in unpicked grapes, only it did not originate in the same way, in the same life situation, nor in the same area, because it is obvious that it could have originated in an area a lot of watermelons, as well as the expression to be found in unpicked grapes originated in a vineyard area. Nevertheless, both of these phrases have spread throughout our language area and are often used - both in everyday speech practice and in the literature.

The ax fell into the honey - why is it said

When something beautiful happens to someone, when great happiness suddenly smiles on him, or when he achieves success in life, in some endeavor, etc., it is usually said that his ax fell into the honey. As for honey, it is quite logical here, because, in a figurative sense, it means sweetness and pleasure, and thus happiness. But how to explain the ax? Why is it considered great and sudden happiness when it falls into the honey?

Searching for the answer to that question, linguists came up with interesting and convincing explanations of the origin and meaning of the expression the ax fell into the honey. Although this term is used by many, and they mostly know what it means, it is not out of place to cite a few characteristic examples. J. Matešić, in the Phraseological Dictionary, with the determinant fell (inflammation) to whom the ax in the honey gives an explanation: “to come suddenly to great gain, to position, to success; to be very lucky ”and illustrates these meanings with examples from the works of Ivo Andrić, Stevan Jakovljević and other Serbian writers:

"Congratulations," he says, colleague. "Your ax fell into the honey." (I. Andric)

"Now my ax has fallen into the honey. Let's untangle that kajmakchalan knot once. ” (S. Jakovljevic)

"Because, after so much service, an ax fell into the honey for him" (D. Radić)

Stjepan Babić, writing in the magazine Jezik about the expression the ax fell into the honey, cites numerous examples from the works of Croatian writers, which shows that the term is known and that it is often used in the entire Serbo-Croatian language area. He also gives an answer to the question why it is considered great and sudden happiness when an ax falls into honey. But long before him, the right answer, albeit with a dose of speculation, was given by Vuk Karadzic. In the collection of Serbian folk proverbs, he notes:

"The ax fell into his honey. He is happy. I don’t know how this proverb came about; is it not, when the foreheads are cut out of the tree, and when the hollow is full of honey, and the ax, as it strikes the tree, falls into the honey? ”

Along with Vuk's interpretation, Babić adds that, more likely, the expression originated in such a way that people accidentally, cutting or chopping wood, suddenly came across honey, which was accumulated by runaway or wild bees.

"I experienced that once as a child," says the author. "He brought his uncle from the woods and chopped them up and came across honey. It was a great joy for everyone. That experience later helped me understand this phrase with the ax. There used to be more such concrete experiences, when people burned with wood that they cut and chopped themselves, so we moved from the concrete to the transferred meaning, which is a completely normal phenomenon in language. ”

After all this, it is clear how the expression fell ax fell into the honey. This, however, is not widely known, so it seemed to many that it was illogical, and that is why they started taking the word spoon (or spoon) instead of an ax. Thus the expression fell (mu) spoon (or spoon) into honey. This substitution, given the basic meaning of the phrase in question ("to come suddenly to great happiness"), is difficult to accept, because when the spoon falls into the honey, there is no surprise. However, the expression "fallen spoon in honey" is found somewhere in life and literature, although linguists prefer the first (fallen ax in honey), because its origin and meaning are easier to explain, and it is also more expressive than the second.


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

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We learned a lot again.

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1 year ago

I was dizzy reading your article. There are some of our words, it cannot be translated into any language.

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1 year ago

I always had a problem with translating some folk sayings, proverbs, etc. If they are translated literally, they lose their meaning in another language. I envied some of our old writers, doctors, architects who studied abroad and thus enriched their vocabulary, which is a great progress and also a good material in further research and writing of their works. Today has brought us a poor range of words that are in the spotlight and no one is trying to decorate any statement with words anymore. Communication was reduced to the exchange of smileys, abbreviations and short phrases generally known in all language areas, regardless of intellectuality.

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1 year ago

Veeery long article, but the point is that greek philosophers were the best...and of course Matija Beckovic :-) PS. Read also Ivan Klajn's ''Ispeci pa reci'' ;)

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1 year ago

There are a lot of good sayings

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1 year ago

I've been reading this for 2 hours. Apparently the green one hasn't been able to read everything yet.

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1 year ago

Lol, very good topic. Good article. Innteresting. Congraluations!

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1 year ago

It really is a great your article! It's better when we know why something is said ... and we use that very often in conversation ...

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1 year ago

Very useful article and very long.

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1 year ago

Just as you wait for my article in the morning, so I enjoy reading your articles in the evening over coffee. If there aren't any, I shed crocodile tears: D

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1 year ago

Wooo, very interesting knowledge about crocodile tears. I really had no idea about this but it totally makes sense "tear and salivary glands are in a close relationship, so when it devours its prey, it reflexively tears, sheds big tears".

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1 year ago

Thank you for detailed explanation! Keep writing!

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1 year ago