Archive for January 10th, 2011

January 10, 2011

Playing hooky

Playing hooky is serious busines, pic:

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.


“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 |

… 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.