Ruffle your feathers
Today’s phrase is ruffle your feathers
Exaplanation: If you “ruffle someone’s feathers” (I love that words – ruffle – just sounds fun!), it means you’ve made them nervous, angry or upset.
Example: Dealing with Anne’s boyfriend always ruffled Caitlin’s feathers. She found him annoying, ignorant, and rude.
Origin: If a bird ruffles its feathers, it makes them stand out on its body, for example when cleaning itself or when it is frightened.
Today’s phrase is scarce as hen’s teeth
Explanation: If you say something is as is as scarce as hen’s teeth, then you mean it is very difficult or almost impossible to find.
Example: During the Olympics, it is impossible to find a reasonably priced hotel room. They are as scarce as hen’s teeth.
Origin: This phrase is thought to be an Americanism dating back to the colonial period (c. early 1600s.), but the first recording of it doesn’t appear until 1862. The imagery behind this phrase relates to something we probably don’t think about too often: birds don’t have teeth.
Today’s phrase is for the for the birds.
Explanation: If you tell someone that something is for the birds, you are telling them that you think something is worthless or ridiculous.
Example: Jasper was convinced there was buried treasure in the old mine somewhere, but his wife told him he was wasting his time, and that his attempts to find the treasure were for the birds.
Origin: This phrase is of American origin. It is US Army slang and originated towards the end of WWII. Here is an early example of its use from his piece from The Lowell Sun, October 1944:
“Don’t take too seriously this belief that we have football at Camp Ellis solely for the entertainment of the personnel – that’s strictly for the birds. The army is a winner… the army likes to win – that’s the most fortunate thing in the world for America.”
Today’s phrase is pecking order.
Explanation: The expression pecking order is used to describe the relative status or power of people within a group or organization.
Example: John really wanted to speak up at the team meeting, but he was aware of his place in the pecking order, and knew he’d have to wait until his manager was done speaking.
Origin: Pecking order refers to the social organization chickens have. Basically, the higher up in the pecking order a chicken is, the earlier it gets to eat! Their is generally a “top chicken ” and “bottom chicken” and everyone in between.
The concept of pecking order was first described from the behaviour of poultry by Thorleif Schjelderup-Ebbe in 1921 under the German terms Hackordnung or Hackliste. It was introduced into English in 1927.
Today’s phrase is make hay while the sun shines. It’s been so darned nice and sunny out, so this seemed like a good phrase to do.
Explanation: If you say that someone should make hay while the sun shines, you mean that someone should make the most of an opprtunity while they can.
Example: Jenny complained to her mother that the neighbours had offered her lots of babysitting hours over the summer, but all she wanted to do was hang out by the pool. Her mother pointed out she could earn a lot of money and said “You should make hay while the sun shines”.
Origin: This proverb is first recorded by John Heywood in 1546:
Whan the sunne shinth make hay. Whiche is to say.
Take time whan time cometh, lest time steale away.
This refers to cutting hay, which of course, is a lot easier to do when it’s sunny and nice out. I’ve tried mowing the lawn after it’s rained – can’t imagine cutting wet hay by hand! This proverb was then extended to general life, and became a generic expression for getting something done while you could.