A no-brainer. Where did the expression that we use every day?

A no-brainer. Where did the expression that we use every day?

Daily we are using in speech a number of idioms without even thinking about the expressions and what they actually mean.

The history of one of the most popular phraseologisms of the parse along with the Professor of the State Institute of Russian language. Pushkin Irina Lestini.

RUB points

It is believed that the value of this idiom is not due to the optics, as with playing cards, but rather playing the “point”. In the XIX century the players have learned to cheat, by changing, for example, four of the top five. Therefore, the expression means “to deceive” or “mislead”. By the way, this method of cheating was described by Pushkin in “the Queen of spades”.

On the nose

The “nose” comes from the word “sissy”, meaning “blow”, and it describes the process of getting the axe in the same place in joinery. Today the expression has two values: “maximum precision” and “the similarity of objects to the smallest details.”

To play on the nerves

According to the official version, after opening the doctors of antiquity nerves in the human body they were called the similarity with the strings of musical instruments the same word — “nervus”. And so annoying activities received his idiom — “play on nerves”.

Whipping boy

Expression has literary roots. We can meet in the novel Mark TWAIN “the Prince and the pauper”. In the XV—XVIII centuries when the little princes were special boys-the pages for the beatings, which are blamed for the faults and bad study of the future king. What was the meaning of this sentence? The fact that the Prince was very attached to his page, and meant that each strike the boy, the Prince had to feel guilty. This expression is used when we want to emphasize that anger rip on another person.

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There are two versions. The first says that the expression, plucked from a poem by Mayakovsky (“obviously is a /this Peter was a bourgeois”). The word “urchin” has been used by the poet to comply with rhyme. People’s popularity, this phrase received after its use by the Strugatsky brothers in the story “the Country of crimson clouds”.

The second version refers to the middle of the last century, when the Soviet Union was popular physico-mathematical boarding schools. Due to the large number of students classes have had letters from A to I. But in classes with the letters E, W, And got students, which was later joined to the main program. Therefore, their students are older called “hedgehogs” and spoke, though the program is complex, it is “hedgehog friendly”.


It is believed to be a calque from French, where the word “assiette” means “plate” and “location guests at the table”. Russian nobility, who spoke French, often used this expression in the first sense, even where it was inappropriate. The wrong translation was pointed out, and Pushkin, but nevertheless the expression in this meaning is firmly entrenched in the Russian language.

The skeleton in the closet

Due to the fact that in Britain until 1832 was not allowed to dissect the bodies of dead even for medical purposes, physicians would only have access to bodies of executed criminals. And often left the skeleton of a former prisoner… yourself to experiment further. Of course, it was illegal and kept in the strictest confidence. The only place where you can hide a skeleton, was a closet. So now, when I say “skeleton in the closet mean anything secret, secret.

To commit

The nose of this expression is called not part of the face, and a special tag, which in past centuries illiterate people carried. It put the notches for the debts, leaving notes, etc., so that nothing is forgotten. Today this expression is used to mean “to remember”.

Pour on the first number

Before, instead of putting the two, students at schools was beaten with rods. To do this, hired a special person. If the student is battered beyond measure, all subsequent punishment was postponed until the first day of a new month. So now this expression means “heavily punished”.

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This expression appeared at the time of the capture of Kazan by Ivan the Terrible. Prisoners Tatar princes, the king tried to make allies and cajoled by gifts. In order to show their “plight” and to gain more Royal mercy, the Tatar princes wanted to seem pathetic and affected. Seeing this, the Russian boyars called them my “orphans Kazan”.

But there is another version of the origin of this expression. Then, after the capture of Kazan, many children were orphaned. By order of the king were given to Russian families. In this case, the expression “the orphan Kazan” was used without irony.

Blue blood

Again, refer to history, however, to the Spanish. The fact that the Spanish know more than once pointed out to the world that her blood never mingled with the blood of foreigners. The Spanish giants were so proud of their pale skin, which was visible even blue veins. Actually, this gave them the opportunity to claim that in their veins flows the noble blood. Since then, the aristocrats, the elite and those who stands for their position in society, called “blue blood”.

To give good

There was this idiom, thanks to the Navy. In pre-revolutionary Russian alphabet letter “D” called “good”. The Maritime flag under this letter said: “Accept, resolve”. Therefore, the name of the letter and the flag value are merged into one expression: “Give a nod”. In a broad speech practice it came after the film “White sun of the desert”: “Customs gives good”.

Be a red thread

There are two versions of the origin of this expression, and both are associated with theft of government property. In the first case, the idiom refers to the time when in Holland in the seventeenth century, stealing the sails in the fleet. To prevent theft, the decision was made in the canvas to weave the red thread. It is possible to distinguish between a breech cloth. The second version is also connected with the fleet, but only English. There, too, stole the ropes. And with the same purpose, they weave a red thread so that it was impossible to remove. Today this expression is used when talking about the main thought of something.

To reach handles

In Ancient Rus baked cakes in the shape of a castle. Specially baked a handle lock designed to hold and eating a roll. When the cake eaten, the handle thrown away or she would eat the poor. About the same who ate the bread completely, said he was in extreme need and thus “got to handle”.

Roar Beluga

The expression originates from the Beluga whale. The fact that the toothed whale, which used to be called “Beluga”, makes a very loud roar. So the people who cry loudly or strongly, used the expression “to roar Beluga”. Interestingly, fish in the sturgeon family white sturgeon, like all fish, silent.

To spread the idea of the tree

This expression owes its emergence inaccurate translation of one of the strings “the Word about Igor’s regiment”. In the original text was:

Bojan prophetic, if someone wanted to sing, spread the mysiya of the tree, a gray wolf on the ground, a bluish eagle under the clouds.

The word “Mys/mysiya” took over “the idea”, whereas the ancient language it is translated as “protein”. Today this expression means “to talk a lot, not the case”.