Ten things that we say and often mean the opposite

The purpose of proverbs is to teach people
wisdom and help them understand the
insights of the wise. Some proverbs are
indeed worth abiding by, while
others . . . not so much. Many proverbs
actually have an opposite proverb, making it
hard to choose the one that actually speaks
the truth. Still other proverbs are commonly
misused and carry a different meaning
today than originally intended.
10 Curiosity Killed The Cat
Actually: Care killed the cat.
The phrase “curiosity killed the cat” serves
as a warning to those who are too curious
for their own good. However, the proverb
we know today actually originated from
“care killed the cat,” with the word “care”
meaning “worry” or “sorrow.” The proverb
was first recorded in Ben Johnson’s play
Every Man in His Humour in 1598. It is
believed that the play was performed by a
troupe of actors that included William
Shakespeare.
Later, without any scruples, Shakespeare
used the memorable line in his own play
Much Ado About Nothing : “What, courage
man! what though care killed a cat, thou
hast mettle enough in thee to kill care.”
In 1898, the original expression of “care
killed the cat” was still in use when it was
defined in Brewer’s Dictionary of Phrase
and Fable: “It is said that ‘a cat has nine
lives,’ yet care would wear them all out.”
However, in that same year, the phrase was
printed as “it is said that once ‘curiosity
killed a Thomas cat’ ” in The Galveston
Daily News . By the time it appeared in
Eugene O’Neill’s play Diff’rent in 1922, the
phrase had morphed into the one we so
often use today.
9 Blood Is Thicker Than
Water
Actually: The blood of the covenant is
thicker than the water of the womb.
“Blood is thicker than water” is often used
to imply that family ties are more important
than duty to anything else. Today, we often
use the phrase to remind one another that
family bonds are far more significant than
temporary relationships with friends. This is
not at all what the phrase originally meant.
The original version stated, “the blood of
the covenant is thicker than the water of
the womb,” meaning that the bond between
comrades is stronger than your family
allegiance. Back in the day, the word blood
was taken quite literally and was referring
to the blood that was shed by soldiers on
the battlefield. “Blood is thicker than water”
was also used in reference to blood
covenants that people used to make by
sharing the blood of an animal or even by
cutting one another and mixing their blood
together. Once the covenant was made, it
bonded them for life and meant that they
were committed to one another more than
they were committed to their own brothers.
8 Jack Of All Trades,
Master Of None
Actually: Jack of all trades.
Today, the proverb “Jack of all trades,
master of none” is used in a derogatory
fashion. Originally, the phrase was simply
“Jack of all trades” and carried no negative
connotations with it. In fact, it simply meant
a person who could do a lot of things.
The name “Jack” doesn’t refer to any
specific person and is a generic term used
to describe the common man . Medieval
“Jacks” were at the bottom of the social
ladder and made a living through various
trades that were populated by Jacks, such as
lumberjacks and steeplejacks. In addition,
the name “Jack” was also added to many
useful objects such as smoke-jack (a
roasting pit) or jack-plane (a basic
carpenter’s plane). In the Middle Ages,
there probably wasn’t a single trade that
didn’t use a Jack of some sort.
It was in 1612 that the phrase “Jack of all
trades” officially entered the language,
when Geffray Minshull wrote of his prison
experience in Essayes And Characters of a
Prison and Prisoners . The additional part of
the phrase, “master of none,” was only
added in the late 18th century. In 1785, it
appeared exactly as we use it now in
Charles Lucas’s pamphlet Pharmacomastix,
which detailed abuses common in the
apothecary’s trade.
7 The Devil Is In The
Details
Actually: God is in the detail.
Today’s version warns of mistakes to be
made in the small details of a project.
However, an older version of the proverb is
“God is in the details.” It means that
attention paid to small things will bring
significant rewards.
It is unclear who first invented and used
the phrase “God is in the details.” The
proverb is attributed to many influential
figures , including Michelangelo. However,
the figure to whom the phrase is most
commonly attributed is the German-born
architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe. While
it is most likely that the phrase did not
originate from him, it was nevertheless
referred to in his 1969 New York Times
obituary. The phrase was also commonly
used by the art historian Aby Warbug,
although his biographer was also hesitant to
pin the phrase to him. An even earlier
version of the proverb, “the good God is in
the detail,” is usually attributed to the
influential French novelist Gustave Flaubert.
In Bartlett’s Familiar Quotations, the source
of the saying is simply listed as
“anonymous.”
6 Carpe Diem
Actually: Carpe diem, quam minimum
credula postero.
This Latin phrase is often translated as
“seize the day” in English, and it’s used to
justify spontaneous behavior in order to
make the most of that day. This, however, is
not entirely true. The phrase we think we
know so well is actually much longer:
“ carpe diem, quam minimum credula
postero ,” which means “pluck the day,
trusting as little as possible in the future.”
Thus, the actual phrase does not encourage
us to ignore the future, but rather advises
us to do as much as we can now for the
future.
The phrase first appeared in Roman poet
Horace’s Odes Book I , which used
agricultural metaphors to urge people to
embrace the day. Horace was a follower of
Epicureanism , a philosophy taught by
Epicurus. It was based on the idea that
pleasure is the most important thing in life
and is attained through simple living. The
phrase “ carpe diem” was used by Lord
Byron in 1817 and was later popularized by
the movie The Dead Poets Society. Today,
the original meaning of the phrase is long
forgotten and encourages people to grab
opportunities and live life to the
fullest . . . with no regard to the future.
5 Children Should Be Seen
And Not Heard
Actually: A maid should be seen, but not
heard.
Few know that the original proverb of
“children should be seen and not heard”
was once “a mayde schuld be seen, but not
herd” (a maid should be seen and not
heard). Thus, it was young women who
were meant to keep quiet .
The saying “Hyt ys old Englysch sawe: A
mayde schuld be seen, but not herd” was
first recorded in a 15th-century collection of
sermons that were written by an
Augustinian clergyman, John Mirk. A “sawe”
was a medieval term for a saying or a
proverb.
To better understand why exactly it is that
we say children instead of maiden today, we
need to look at the word “mayde” and its
meaning. Today, we associate the word
maiden with a young, unmarried woman.
But, back in the day, it could have been any
woman in any context, and could have also
meant children. Interestingly enough, it
could have also referred to celibate men.
4 Mend Fences
Actually: Good fences make good neighbors.
The often-used proverb “mend fences” was
originally influenced by the earlier proverb
“good fences make good neighbors.” The
latter had been listed by Oxford Dictionary
of Quotations as a mid-17th century
proverb. “Good fences make good
neighbors” initially meant that neighbors
respected one another’s property by
building fences, which reduced the
possibility of disputes over adjoining land.
The proverb was later popularized by Robert
Frost in his 1914 poem “Mending Walls.”
The shortened version is most commonly
attributed to the American senator John
Sherman. In 1879, he returned home to
Mansfield, Ohio, and made a speech in
which he included the phrase, “I have come
home to look after my fences.” Whether
Sherman did indeed return home to solely
look after his fences or not didn’t really
matter. Most people interpreted the phrase
as a way of implying that he had returned
home for political reasons, most specifically
to acquire support in the upcoming
elections. Shortly after, the phrase
“mending fences” had come to mean
looking after your interests. However, in the
20th century, the phrase came to mean the
rebuilding of previously good relationships.
3 Money Is The Root Of All
Evil
Actually: The love of money is the root of all
evil.
According to the proverb “money is the root
of all evil,” all the immorality and
wickedness of the world is caused by
money. However, the phrase is a
misquotation from the Bible , with the actual
phrase being “the love of money is the root
of all evil.” It means that evil and
immorality are caused by peoples’ love of
money, and not by money itself.
Other translations modify “the root of all
evil” to “the root of all kinds of evil” or “a
root of all kinds of evil.” In respect to the
latter alteration, it is said that there is
apparently no “the” in front of the word
root in the original language of the Bible.
Thus, the phrase “the love of money is a
root of all kinds of evil” is even further
away from the false teaching of the proverb
as most of us use it today.
Wealth is morally neutral, and there’s
nothing wrong with money or the
possession of money. It is only when money
begins to control us that we should,
according to the Bible, become concerned.
2 The Truth Shall Set You
Free
Actually: Same text, but with a different
meaning.
Today, this phrase is often used to
encourage people to reveal the truth,
presumably after they lied, in order to feel
better. It comes from the Bible, and
different variations do exist, depending on
the translation. It is a popular phrase and is
used by many, regardless of whether or not
they have read the Bible.
However, the original context of the phrase
had very little to do with lying at all. In
fact, the phrase is actually the end of a
longer statement. Initially, the “truth” was
meant to represent Christianity , God, or
Jesus, and the “freedom” referred to any
impediments, such as sin or ignorance.
Thus, “the truth will set you free” originally
meant that if you become a Christian, the
truth (Jesus), will set you free from the
slavery of sin.
1 Speak Of The Devil
Actually: Speak of the devil and he will
appear.
Today, the saying “speak of the devil” is
used as a way of acknowledging the
coincidence of a person arriving at the exact
time they were being talked about by
others. Nothing sinister is implied by the
phrase, and the word “devil” is simply used
as a term of expression. However, prior to
the 20th century, the original proverb
carried a slightly more ominous meaning.
The original phrase, “speak of the devil and
he will appear,” was seen in various Latin
and Old English texts from the 16th century.
It was first recorded by Giovanni Torriano
in Piazza Universale in 1666 as, “The
English say, Talk of the Devil, and he’s
presently at your elbow.” The proverb was
well known by the mid-17th century and
expressed the belief that it was danger I us
to talk about or mention the devil by name.
While most people did not express the it
belief that the pure mention of the devil’s
name itself would cause him to appear, his
reference was still thought to be unlucky
and best to be avoided.
It was around the 19th century that the
original meaning of the phrase began to
wane. Instead, it began to serve as a
warning against eavesdropping.
A student from Ireland who is in love with
books, writing, coffee, and cats.
By: PREVIOUS
LAURA MARTISIUTE MAY 19, 2016
The purpose of proverbs is to teach people
wisdom and help them understand the
insights of the wise. Some proverbs are
indeed worth abiding by, while
others . . . not so much. Many proverbs
actually have an opposite proverb, making it
hard to choose the one that actually speaks
the truth. Still other proverbs are commonly
misused and carry a different meaning
today than originally intended.
10 Curiosity Killed The Cat
Actually: Care killed the cat.
The phrase “curiosity killed the cat” serves
as a warning to those who are too curious
for their own good. However, the proverb
we know today actually originated from
“care killed the cat,” with the word “care”
meaning “worry” or “sorrow.” The proverb
was first recorded in Ben Johnson’s play
Every Man in His Humour in 1598. It is
believed that the play was performed by a
troupe of actors that included William
Shakespeare.
Later, without any scruples, Shakespeare
used the memorable line in his own play
Much Ado About Nothing : “What, courage
man! what though care killed a cat, thou
hast mettle enough in thee to kill care.”
In 1898, the original expression of “care
killed the cat” was still in use when it was
defined in Brewer’s Dictionary of Phrase
and Fable: “It is said that ‘a cat has nine
lives,’ yet care would wear them all out.”
However, in that same year, the phrase was
printed as “it is said that once ‘curiosity
killed a Thomas cat’ ” in The Galveston
Daily News . By the time it appeared in
Eugene O’Neill’s play Diff’rent in 1922, the
phrase had morphed into the one we so
often use today.
9 Blood Is Thicker Than
Water
Actually: The blood of the covenant is
thicker than the water of the womb.
“Blood is thicker than water” is often used
to imply that family ties are more important
than duty to anything else. Today, we often
use the phrase to remind one another that
family bonds are far more significant than
temporary relationships with friends. This is
not at all what the phrase originally meant.
The original version stated, “the blood of
the covenant is thicker than the water of
the womb,” meaning that the bond between
comrades is stronger than your family
allegiance. Back in the day, the word blood
was taken quite literally and was referring
to the blood that was shed by soldiers on
the battlefield. “Blood is thicker than water”
was also used in reference to blood
covenants that people used to make by
sharing the blood of an animal or even by
cutting one another and mixing their blood
together. Once the covenant was made, it
bonded them for life and meant that they
were committed to one another more than
they were committed to their own brothers.
8 Jack Of All Trades,
Master Of None
Actually: Jack of all trades.
Today, the proverb “Jack of all trades,
master of none” is used in a derogatory
fashion. Originally, the phrase was simply
“Jack of all trades” and carried no negative
connotations with it. In fact, it simply meant
a person who could do a lot of things.
The name “Jack” doesn’t refer to any
specific person and is a generic term used
to describe the common man . Medieval
“Jacks” were at the bottom of the social
ladder and made a living through various
trades that were populated by Jacks, such as
lumberjacks and steeplejacks. In addition,
the name “Jack” was also added to many
useful objects such as smoke-jack (a
roasting pit) or jack-plane (a basic
carpenter’s plane). In the Middle Ages,
there probably wasn’t a single trade that
didn’t use a Jack of some sort.
It was in 1612 that the phrase “Jack of all
trades” officially entered the language,
when Geffray Minshull wrote of his prison
experience in Essayes And Characters of a
Prison and Prisoners . The additional part of
the phrase, “master of none,” was only
added in the late 18th century. In 1785, it
appeared exactly as we use it now in
Charles Lucas’s pamphlet Pharmacomastix,
which detailed abuses common in the
apothecary’s trade.
7 The Devil Is In The
Details
Actually: God is in the detail.
Today’s version warns of mistakes to be
made in the small details of a project.
However, an older version of the proverb is
“God is in the details.” It means that
attention paid to small things will bring
significant rewards.
It is unclear who first invented and used
the phrase “God is in the details.” The
proverb is attributed to many influential
figures , including Michelangelo. However,
the figure to whom the phrase is most
commonly attributed is the German-born
architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe. While
it is most likely that the phrase did not
originate from him, it was nevertheless
referred to in his 1969 New York Times
obituary. The phrase was also commonly
used by the art historian Aby Warbug,
although his biographer was also hesitant to
pin the phrase to him. An even earlier
version of the proverb, “the good God is in
the detail,” is usually attributed to the
influential French novelist Gustave Flaubert.
In Bartlett’s Familiar Quotations, the source
of the saying is simply listed as
“anonymous.”
6 Carpe Diem
Actually: Carpe diem, quam minimum
credula postero.
This Latin phrase is often translated as
“seize the day” in English, and it’s used to
justify spontaneous behavior in order to
make the most of that day. This, however, is
not entirely true. The phrase we think we
know so well is actually much longer:
“ carpe diem, quam minimum credula
postero ,” which means “pluck the day,
trusting as little as possible in the future.”
Thus, the actual phrase does not encourage
us to ignore the future, but rather advises
us to do as much as we can now for the
future.
The phrase first appeared in Roman poet
Horace’s Odes Book I , which used
agricultural metaphors to urge people to
embrace the day. Horace was a follower of
Epicureanism , a philosophy taught by
Epicurus. It was based on the idea that
pleasure is the most important thing in life
and is attained through simple living. The
phrase “ carpe diem” was used by Lord
Byron in 1817 and was later popularized by
the movie The Dead Poets Society. Today,
the original meaning of the phrase is long
forgotten and encourages people to grab
opportunities and live life to the
fullest . . . with no regard to the future.
5 Children Should Be Seen
And Not Heard
Actually: A maid should be seen, but not
heard.
Few know that the original proverb of
“children should be seen and not heard”
was once “a mayde schuld be seen, but not
herd” (a maid should be seen and not
heard). Thus, it was young women who
were meant to keep quiet .
The saying “Hyt ys old Englysch sawe: A
mayde schuld be seen, but not herd” was
first recorded in a 15th-century collection of
sermons that were written by an
Augustinian clergyman, John Mirk. A “sawe”
was a medieval term for a saying or a
proverb.
To better understand why exactly it is that
we say children instead of maiden today, we
need to look at the word “mayde” and its
meaning. Today, we associate the word
maiden with a young, unmarried woman.
But, back in the day, it could have been any
woman in any context, and could have also
meant children. Interestingly enough, it
could have also referred to celibate men.
4 Mend Fences
Actually: Good fences make good neighbors.
The often-used proverb “mend fences” was
originally influenced by the earlier proverb
“good fences make good neighbors.” The
latter had been listed by Oxford Dictionary
of Quotations as a mid-17th century
proverb. “Good fences make good
neighbors” initially meant that neighbors
respected one another’s property by
building fences, which reduced the
possibility of disputes over adjoining land.
The proverb was later popularized by Robert
Frost in his 1914 poem “Mending Walls.”
The shortened version is most commonly
attributed to the American senator John
Sherman. In 1879, he returned home to
Mansfield, Ohio, and made a speech in
which he included the phrase, “I have come
home to look after my fences.” Whether
Sherman did indeed return home to solely
look after his fences or not didn’t really
matter. Most people interpreted the phrase
as a way of implying that he had returned
home for political reasons, most specifically
to acquire support in the upcoming
elections. Shortly after, the phrase
“mending fences” had come to mean
looking after your interests. However, in the
20th century, the phrase came to mean the
rebuilding of previously good relationships.
3 Money Is The Root Of All
Evil
Actually: The love of money is the root of all
evil.
According to the proverb “money is the root
of all evil,” all the immorality and
wickedness of the world is caused by
money. However, the phrase is a
misquotation from the Bible , with the actual
phrase being “the love of money is the root
of all evil.” It means that evil and
immorality are caused by peoples’ love of
money, and not by money itself.
Other translations modify “the root of all
evil” to “the root of all kinds of evil” or “a
root of all kinds of evil.” In respect to the
latter alteration, it is said that there is
apparently no “the” in front of the word
root in the original language of the Bible.
Thus, the phrase “the love of money is a
root of all kinds of evil” is even further
away from the false teaching of the proverb
as most of us use it today.
Wealth is morally neutral, and there’s
nothing wrong with money or the
possession of money. It is only when money
begins to control us that we should,
according to the Bible, become concerned.
2 The Truth Shall Set You
Free
Actually: Same text, but with a different
meaning.
Today, this phrase is often used to
encourage people to reveal the truth,
presumably after they lied, in order to feel
better. It comes from the Bible, and
different variations do exist, depending on
the translation. It is a popular phrase and is
used by many, regardless of whether or not
they have read the Bible.
However, the original context of the phrase
had very little to do with lying at all. In
fact, the phrase is actually the end of a
longer statement. Initially, the “truth” was
meant to represent Christianity , God, or
Jesus, and the “freedom” referred to any
impediments, such as sin or ignorance.
Thus, “the truth will set you free” originally
meant that if you become a Christian, the
truth (Jesus), will set you free from the
slavery of sin.
1 Speak Of The Devil
Actually: Speak of the devil and he will
appear.
Today, the saying “speak of the devil” is
used as a way of acknowledging the
coincidence of a person arriving at the exact
time they were being talked about by
others. Nothing sinister is implied by the
phrase, and the word “devil” is simply used
as a term of expression. However, prior to
the 20th century, the original proverb
carried a slightly more ominous meaning.
The original phrase, “speak of the devil and
he will appear,” was seen in various Latin
and Old English texts from the 16th century.
It was first recorded by Giovanni Torriano
in Piazza Universale in 1666 as, “The
English say, Talk of the Devil, and he’s
presently at your elbow.” The proverb was
well known by the mid-17th century and
expressed the belief that it was dangerous
to talk about or mention the devil by name.
While most people did not express their
belief that the pure mention of the devil’s
name itself would cause him to appear, his
reference was still thought to be unlucky
and best to be avoided.
It was around the 19th century that the
original meaning of the phrase began to
wane. Instead, it began to serve as a
warning against eavesdropping.
A student from Ireland who is in love with
books, writing, coffee, and cats.
BOOKS
10 Common Sayings
That MeaTh
Opposite Of What
You Think

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  1. Stewart June 13, 2016 Reply

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