How Did Weird Idioms Come About?

How Did Weird Idioms Come About?

An idiom is a figure of speech that is used to mean something other than its literal meaning. "Riding shotgun" is an idiom for sitting in the passenger seat of a car. This phrase dates back to the early 1900s. In the Wild West, the person sitting beside the driver in coach would often carry a shotgun for protection. The idiom "barking up the wrong tree" came from the early 1800s when dogs were more commonly used for hunting. When a dog would identify prey that had run up a tree, the dog would bark upward toward it. When the prey jumped to a different tree, the dog would be left at the base of the original tree, confused, barking up to nothing.

09:45

Key Facts In This Video

  • 1

    An idiom is a figure of speech used to mean something other than its literal meaning. (0:02)

  • 2

    In the Wild West, the person sitting next to the driver would carry a shotgun, hence why sitting there is "riding shotgun." (1:34)

  • 3

    The phrase "close, but no cigar" was popularized in a 1935 screenplay about Annie Oakley. (5:14)

See all

Deep Sea

Disability

Psychology

Writers

Get smarter every day! Like us on Facebook.
You'll get the most interesting and engaging topics in your feed, straight from our team of experts.