The next best thing to being clever is being able to quote someone who is — Mary Pettibone Poole
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?
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 …
John Dennis, play write
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.
BUT WHAT ABOUT ALL THE OTHER TRIED-AND-TRUE, EVEN HACKNEYED, PHRASES THAT WE USE ALL THE TIME AND TAKE FOR GRANTED?
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
BUT …… ALSO WRONG.
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 ….
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 ?
Sufficient unto the day?
Fight the good fight?
Give up the ghost?
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 …”,
- 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 ?
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.