Archive for January 8th, 2011

January 8, 2011


Curious looking cat, pic: © Igor Kharlamov |

Here is an idiom for curios people – or maybe it is rather for nosy people: “curiosity killed the cat”

This is used to warn people of the perils of being too inquisitive and sticking their noses into other people’s business, especially if that business is none of their business.  People who are too curious, this idiom tells us, get in trouble or worse.

You can use this idiom as a an answer when somebody asks a question that you do not want to answer.

For example, you got a nice pair of earrings from that admirer you have only been seeing for a short time and you are not ready yet to talk about him but your colleague asks: “where did you get those earrings???”  Your answer “Curiosity killed the cat” should tell her unmistakably to leave the topic alone without you having to say something more rude such as “it none of your business.”

The origin of this idiom is so obscure and convoluted from what I read that I decided to skip it – curiosity might kill the cat but convoluted stories sure put the reader to sleep.

January 8, 2011

Of pots and kettles

This kettle can't call anybody black, pic: © Arman Anzanpour |

Here is a idiom that sounds quite confusing at first “the pot calling the kettle black”.  For clarification: pots are used for cooking, kettles for boiling water.

This expression is used to accuse a person of being guilty of the very thing they are pointing out and accusing you of or, to put it another way you use this expression if somebody criticizes you for something but he or she is just as much at fault or makes the same mistakes.

Here is an example:

“You should clean up your room, it is a complete mess in there.”

“That’s the pot calling the kettle black – look at your room, you can’t even get in the door.”

The origin of this idiom comes indeed from cooking.  The traditional pots and kettles were made from cast iron which turned black over time especially during times where people still cooked over open fire.  With both the pot and the kettle black, the pot calling the kettle black (in an accusatory way) would be pretty hypocritical and suggests that the pot is not aware of his own characteristics.