Have you ever had the cold shoulder? What about chancing your arm?
Don’t tell me you’ve never bitten the bullet and gone hell for leather.
I’m sure you’ve done all of the above and more — so I’ll let the cat out of the bag and tell you what a few of them mean.
Take for example the phrase above, I’m sure that if you went round these days carrying a cat in your luggage the RSPCA would be on you in two shakes of a ducks tail.
But in days of yore, market traders would put young pigs in bags and sell them.
You’d see a pig on the stall but when you got home expecting a delicious sucking meal complete with crackling you were confronted with kitty — and no prospect of dinner.
So, letting the cat out of the bag was the uncovering of the deceit.
For the next one, you’re going to have to come closer — the walls have ears.
Well as we know these days there’s always someone listening in ready to record your downfall with their mobile.
But a few hundred years ago they were distinctly lacking in smartphones, having instead having to rely on their smart brains.
In the time of Catherine de’Medici, wife of Henry II of France, certain rooms in the Louvre Palace were reputed to have a network of listening tubes so something said in one room could be heard in another.
As we’re in a Yorkshire autumn, we should get on to temperature and weather too.
To get cold feet about something appears to have derived from the army where soldiers who were ill-clad couldn’t march fast — meaning they were slow into battle.
Cold shoulder comes from a completely different direction — rather trying to get out of something, research suggests that you are actually trying to get someone out — normally of your house.
Rather than offering a guest fine wines and lovely food, by offering them a cold shoulder (normally of mutton) you gave them little reason to stay and hence the saying developed.
It’s not just phrases that we all know about — there are actions that are simply forbidden with our mums, dads and families drilling into us what we shouldn’t do.
In our house, when I was a nipper if I span a knife I was given a telling off.
Apparently, if I remember correctly, it was the pre-cursor to an argument.
To be fair, it seemed to be a self-fulfilling prophecy as I inevitably complained and things went from there.
The other major dinner table infraction was putting shoes on the table as according to my family it brought bad luck.
I thought this was complete codswallop, but it appears to have been rooted in truth.
Many years ago, without the aid of modern communications, there was a tradition that when a miner died his shoes would be brought home and left on the table.
When people saw them, they knew what had happened. I grew up in Barnsley, so no wonder that rankled.
There’s loads of things that like that are at risk of being lost as we simply don’t seem to come up with them anymore.
Tell me your favourite phrase or weird tradition on the email address above and I’ll share them with everyone to make sure another generation get to hear them.