As time goes by, common phrases have a tendency to change meanings through literature or everyday use. In celebration of International Literacy day, this month's trivia will take a closer look at some of these common sayings!1
This Latin phrase is often translated as “seize the day” in English, and it’s used to justify spontaneous behavior in order to make the most of that day. This, however, is not entirely true. The phrase we think we know so well is much longer: “carpe diem, quam minimum credula postero,” which means “pluck the day, trusting as little as possible in the future.” Thus, the actual phrase does not encourage us to ignore the future, but rather advises us to do as much as we can now for the future.
Sweating Like a Pig
When someone is “sweating like a pig,” it indicates profuse, heavy perspiration. But there’s one little problem with this common phrase: pigs don’t sweat. In fact, the origin of the phrase has nothing to do with pigs, but refers to pig iron, which is produced from iron ore during the smelting process. The metal is deemed cool enough to transport once droplets of condensation begin forming on the metal’s surface — so when the “pig” begins to “sweat” the metal can be safely moved.
To receive the cold shoulder is to have someone treat you dismissively, with a chilly demeanor. And while you might think the phrase is derived from someone turning his or her back on someone, the origin is quite different. In fact, the actual meaning indicates that those who are welcome in a house are presented with a hot meal, while unwelcome visitors are instead given a cold shoulder of mutton.