Monday, May 14, 2012

Settler Sayings

A dear friend of mine introduced me to a book a while back entitled Settler Sayings.

It is part of the Historic Communities series by Bobbie Kalman. My friend thought it was something I would enjoy and boy was she right! I've always been fascinated with old sayings and their origins and/or meanings. Not all of the sayings in the book were made up by settlers but settlers used them often. Many of the sayings in the book I had  heard before but never knew their origins. Some, though I had never heard and found quite interesting.
I have shared some of the sayings in the book below.

"Apple Of One's Eye"- Today this means someone we value greatly or treasure.Long ago, the black circular center of the eye was referred to as the apple of the eye because people thought it looked like an apple. Have you ever been called the apple of someone's eye?

"Goose Bumps" - Today we say we have goose bumps or pimples if we develop bumps on our skin when we are cold or afraid. In old times, settlers would pluck geese and use their feathers to stuff pillows or mattresses or linens. When a goose has its feathers plucked it develops raised bumps on its skin. These are  tiny muscles in their skin to keep them warm.

"Nest Egg" - We've probably all heard the expression nest egg and know it refers to money saved for the future. Early settlers relied on chickens for their survival. Settlers put fake eggs in hens' nests to encourage them to lay eggs. These eggs were made of clay and whitewashed. They were saved and used over and over again as needed.

"Upper Crust" - In old times, wheat flour was considered better than other types of flour and was more expensive. Women who wanted to impress others would use the best flour for the upper crust of their pies because it would be seen and admired. Today, upper crust means something or someone who is fancy or rich.

"Apple- Pie Order" - This is by far my favorite saying from the book! Settler women  when baking pies made sure they cut the apple slices in equal sizes. They were careful to arrange them in even rows inside the pie and the crusts were joined with perfectly spaced pinches. Today  apple-pie order describes something that is very tidy.

Check out the book for other neat sayings and their meanings/origins including

"Bought the farm"

"Fly off the handle"

"Mind your P's and Q's"

"Pull the wool over his eyes"

and many more!

Your local library should own a copy! There are other very interesting books in The Historic Communities Series.

Imagine a settler's surprise  at some of the sayings we have today?