Chew the Fat

During Medieval times bacon was very expensive to buy. When you did get some, it was customary to display or store it over the fireplace in the parlor.  When important guests came over, it would be taken down and chewed during conversation.  People would ‘sit around and chew the fat.’

Wet Your Whistle

This saying supposedly came from an English pub.  A whistle was baked right into the rim of a ceramic beer mug.  The crowd would get loud and it became hard for the bartender to hear people ordering drinks.  They would then blow the whistle for another drink in order to ‘wet their whistle.’


It was thought that if newlyweds drank mead (a wine made from honey) every evening for one month (the cycle of one moon) they would surely have a male heir in that year.  They drank the mead out of a ‘Mazer Cup’ that they’d pass on to the next generation.  That one-month period is called the ‘honeymoon.’

Sleep Tight


Mattresses were originally pulled tight with ropes woven through the bed frame.  A key was then used to periodically tighten the rope.  This could very well have led to ‘sleep tight’ but many people disagree.  ‘Tight’ means sound or healthy, which would explain the usage as well.  Still others believe that ‘tight’ came along to rhyme with ‘good night,’ or ‘wake bright,’ or even ‘bed bugs bite’!

Mind Your P’s & Q’s

There are two explanations for this saying.  The first is from England where, once again, we gather in a pub.  Ale was ordered in pints and quarts and when the crowd got rowdy, the bartender would tell them to ‘mind their p’s and q’s.’  The other plausible explanation is that the letters p & q are easily reversible.  When a printer was running a press, the boss would tell him to ‘mind his p’s and q’s.’

Beat Around The Bush

This saying came about when people used to hunt game.  The birds were chased and scared out of their hiding place, normally a bush.  They were then captured and killed.  We now say don’t ‘beat around the bush’ meaning don’t procrastinate like the birds did when they hid.

Tables in the past had only one finished side.  The family, to preserve the nice side, used the rough underside.  When company would come over the whole top lifted off and the finished side was shown.  Families would ‘turn the table’.