RANDOM THOUGHTS … 'STEALING THUNDER' AND OTHER PHRASES WE USE DAILY THAT’LL MAKE YOU SOUND LIKE AN OXFORD DON AND AS WISE AS SOLOMON

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The next best thing to being clever is being able to quote someone who is — Mary Pettibone Poole
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I
was browsing thru an article the other day …. it was just way too long to actually read, word for word, I’d lose my super-limited focus and comprehension long before I finished it, so I used a recently developed technique for when I’m having one of those days …. I sort of bounced thru it, hoping I’d catch enough of the gist so that it would ultimately make some sort of sense …. sometimes it does, sometimes it’s like finding yourself in a house of mirrors, or someone else’s dream …. nothing familiar, makes no sense at all, you’re not really enjoying it all that much, and you can’t seem to find the exit.



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Anyway, my bouncing-thru was suddenly brought to one of those cartoon screeching halts when I came across the phrase “ …stealing my thunder …”, and you know when you start to spell a word, something simple like ‘c-a-t’, and suddenly it looks like some sort of alien hieroglyph? Like you’ve never seen it before?

That’s the reaction I had to “ ….stealing my thunder ….”. It hit me like a lightening bolt ...



So, where do all the idioms and phrases we use every day come from? Is there a workshop someplace, a sort of gigantic, cosmic writer’s room where they churn this stuff out, like word-flinging Keebler Elves?


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Well, no surprise, a lot of them came from Shakespeare. Phrases like ...

  • Green-eyed monster ...
  • The lady doth protest too much ...
  • To suffer fools gladly ...
  • All that glitters is not gold ...
  • Fair play ....
  • And thereby hangs a tale …

And here’s a surprize ….
”Son of a bitch !!!”


Yup. Shakespeare. So you’re not swearing, you’re honorably, even intellectually, quoting The Bard …



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But what about odder, less famously-fathered phrases, like “stealing thunder”? I found this explanation by a Kathleen, last name unknown ….



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John Dennis, play write
The 17th century playwright John Dennis, excited by having his work presented in a toney theatre, invented a thunder sound effect for the short run of his play Appius and Virginia. The play failed, but the thunder was a great success, and although the play was summarily cancelled, the thunder effect was used immediately after for a production of Macbeth, which was brought in to finish the run

In response, it’s said that Dennis spluttered, "Damn them! They t’won’t let my play run, but they t'will steal my thunder."

At any rate, that’s the alleged source of " …stealing one's thunder …", the act of using someone else's idea or accomplishment to one's own advantage, or copying their style as tho it was your own, or an effort to diminish the originator’s accomplishment or to attempt to blot the original out with your version.
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BUT WHAT ABOUT ALL THE OTHER TRIED-AND-TRUE, EVEN HACKNEYED, PHRASES THAT WE USE ALL THE TIME AND TAKE FOR GRANTED?

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How about this one …. “One for all, All For One …”. If you immediately thought, Alexander Dumas’ Three Musketeers, you’re right.


Or maybe this old shoe …. “The game’s afoot !!!” …. If you instantly pictured a deer-stalker hat, a pipe, and a magnifying glass, YOU’RE RIGHT !!! Sherlock Holmes, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s alter ego


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BUT …… ALSO WRONG.
Whaaaaa???

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Because “One for all And All For One” actually originated a couple hundred years before that swashbuckling Dumas adventure, penned by (no surprise here) Wm Shakespeare, in one of his lesser known early works, the poem The Rape Of Lucrece …. taken from an old Roman legend about the modest and honorable wife of a Roman Centurion, who praised his wife’s beauty and virtue so glowingly and so frequently that one of his comrades decided to visit her and, carried away by her beauty, unchivalrously forced his attentions on her. Mortified by the loss of her married virtue, she reveals the attack to her husband on his return, then kills herself to preserve her honor.


Vengeance was swiftly enacted by “ ….all for one …”, the aggrieved and affronted Centurion and his comrades hunted down the offender and summarily killed him. I won't go into exactly how, cause Romans liked their vengeance …. really vengeful ….


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And while “The game’s afoot !!!” is a virtual trademark of Sherlock Holmes, it was uttered first in Shakespeare’s Henry IV Part I … go know ….



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The Morgan Guttenberg Bible

Probably the only source as abundant, as rich, and as varied in tone and nuance as Shakespeare is ……the Bible !!!

And we quote from it almost every single day, whether we know it or not.

A leopard cannot change its spots ?
Jeremiah 13:23


Sufficient unto the day?
Matthew 6:34


Fight the good fight?
Timothy 6.12


Give up the ghost?
Acts 12:23:


Sour grapes?
Jeremiah, 31:30



There are so many everyday phrases that come directly from The Good Book that there would hardly be enough room for them all if you wallpapered the entire Sistine Chapel with them in 6 pt type.
  • Casting pearls before swine …
  • The writing is on the wall …
  • A nest of vipers …
  • At wits end …
  • The fly in the ointment …
  • Weighed in the balance and found wanting ….
  • The blind leading the blind….
  • A millstone around one’s neck …”,


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And Aesop knew a good thing when he came across one, and didn’t hesitate to borrow from it …. like …

  • Belling the cat … (An action that provides an advance warning of approaching danger …)
  • A taste of one’s own medicine … (Turning the tables on someone, using their own tactics …)
  • Sour grapes … (Reaching for something that’s unattainable, and then deprecating it as not worth having…. …)
  • A wolf in sheep's clothing …. (Someone who hides malicious intent under the guise of helplessness or kindness)

Right you are ….. those last two are also from the …. Bible !!! Altho the Biblical meaning of sour grapes is somewhat different from Aesop’s …. artistic license, it’s been around for a long time ….


SO WHAT’S THE MORAL OF THIS STORY? CAUSE SOMETHING WITH THIS MANY WORDS HAS TO HAVE A MORAL, RIGHT ?



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Whenever you’re groping around for the source of some piece of wit or wisdom, either to quote it or to verify it, just know that either Shakespeare said it, or it was in the Bible. Sometimes both.


And if you’re feeling really lucky, you could toss in Aesop, too.

But that would cut your chances down to 33.33 from a solid 50-50 shot. I say, stick with the proven winners, and “ ….bugger the begrudgers…” ...

Whoa !!!! Did Shakespeare say that, too ????!!

Wouldn’t be surprised.

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Comments

What fun, Yippee. Thanks for all the digging you must have had to do. I love knowing stuff like this! Now...if only I can hold onto a pinch here and a pinch there I will be a bit 'smarter' than before I read it.
 
I love knowing stuff like this!
I do too !!! For some reason, I'm deeply attracted to absolutely useless information, at least in terms of the sad and dismal little smoky nightclub of a planet that we live on, cause there's no way in hell to turn it into income.


Thank you for joining me in my affection for, and fascination with, nerdish trivia :nerd::nerd::nerd: :D.
.if only I can hold onto a pinch here and a pinch there I will be a bit 'smarter' than before I read it.
If you get any smarter, you're going to have to find a whole other planet to move to ....:squee::squee::squee:
 
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I do too !!! For some reason, I'm deeply attracted to absolutely useless information, at least in terms of the sad and dismal little smoky nightclub of a planet that we live on, cause there's no way in hell to turn it into income.
you put a lot of effort into theses texts. i like it.
if you published it on medium.com and get a following, you could indeed earn a little with ads.

"And here’s a surprize ….
”Son of a bitch !!!”
"
at least i can remember that one ^^
 
you put a lot of effort into theses texts.
It's fun for me, and even when I'm unfocused and brainless, it seems to pull me out of that for a brief moment .... so it's a sort of form of therapy. I dont post all the ones I put together when I'm really doing badly, becasue they're just crap, but doing them makes me feel marginally human again. And hopeful ...
Oh linus, thank you for that !!!!
if you published it on medium.com and get a following, you could indeed earn a little with ads.
Funny, you're the second person who's suggested that. Maybe I need to actually do it ....
And here’s a surprize ….
”Son of a bitch !!!”
I know !!! Shocker, yeah?
at least i can remember that one ^^
I think we all can :meh::meh::meh: .... Probably because we have soooooo many opportunities in the course of the average day to use it :eek::eek: :lol::lol::lol::lol: ... sad, but true.


Thnak you for your kind words LinusB. It really is appreciated ....
 
dew it!
its free. but check the ToC that you do not give up your rights.
Thanks for the heads-up re TofC ..... I'm betting, because I'm so jaded, that if they give you blog space for free, it's because they retain ALL the rights to anything you publish there .... will def check it out !!!! :thumbsup::thumbsup::thumbsup: :):)
 

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