Archive for January 10th, 2011

January 10, 2011

Playing hooky

Playing hooky is serious busines, pic: homeschool-curriculum-savings.com

Playing hooky used to be for kids: when they secretly skipped school, that is not attended without a good reason, they played hooky.

It is used more broadly these days to include grown-ups as well, who stay away from work most likely pretending that they are sick or at least somebody in their family is sick.

Example:

“It’s great weather for swimming.  Let’s just play hooky  today and worry about school tomorrow.”

The origin of the phrase is unclear, several theories exist but nobody really knows.  I guess that leaves us free to pick whichever we like best :

to hook something is a slang term for stealing – so when playing hooky one steals some free time, a day off.  I sort of like that explanation.

The next one goes back to the 19th century when the phrase hooky-crooky was used for dishonest and underhanded.  Dishonest sounds a bit strong for skipping school – but other parents might feel more strongly about this than I do.

Another source claims it comes from the Dutch term hoekje which means hide and seek – that I like, too, it is a playful expression and brings back good childhood memories of skipped school days.

January 10, 2011

Take this blog with a grain of salt …

More than a grain of salt, pic: © Iwka | Dreamstime.com

… of course not literally – but figuratively.  If you take something with a grain of salt you take it with a healthy dose of skepticism and caution.  The expression is often used as a cautionary note, an advise to be cautious and not gullible.  Whatever you are supposed to take with a grain of salt might not be entirely true or accurate.

Here is an example of how to use the expression:

“You should always take Charlie”s stories with a grain of salt.  He tends to exaggerate.”

The origin of this expression goes back to the days when salt was rare and expensive.  I read two possible explanations for the saying, one claiming that salt was believed to have healing powers and therefore taking something with a grain of salt was preventive medicine, the other – more simple – that (almost) everything tastes better with a grain of salt and therefore goes down more easily.

Both might be true.

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