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Where’d that phrase come from #37

Created date

October 12th, 2011

Charley horse 

While no one can prove with certainty the origin of this phrase, most do agree on the fact that it s distinctly American. The vague consensus points to the game of baseball, and more specifically, pitcher Charles Radbourne as the source. Born in 1854, Radbourne played 12 seasons in the major league, pitching for such teams as the Buffalo Bisons, the Boston Reds, and the Providence Grays. ' Radbourne, nicknamed Old Hoss, was known to suffer from leg cramps during games. And some think that around the 1880s, a clever sports writer came up with Charley horse as a playful reference to the far less pleasant term cramp. "During the marathon run, he suffered a Charley horse that put him out of the race." 

Mickey Finn

Mickey Finn was a Chicago saloon owner in the 19th century. He was alleged to have drugged his customers with spiked alcohol before robbing them. Over time, the name Mickey Finn became synonymous with the practice and a term of choice for 1930s detective/gangster stories. Sometimes, we hear of a person being slipped a Mickey Finn, meaning he was knocked out. "The kidnappers planned to slip him a Mickey Finn before they tied him up."

Tide over  

Often mistakenly spelled tied over, this phrase has its origins in the days of wind-powered seafaring. A ship s captain, in the absence of enough wind to fill the vessel s sails, would resort to floating with the tides to cover at least some distance until the wind picked up. It was a means to get the crew by or hold them over, which is exactly how we use the phrase today. "Dinner won t be until late, so you should have some cheese and crackers to tide you over." 

Bury the hatchet

In modern parlance, we use the phrase bury the hatchet to refer to the act of putting disputes, grudges, and hard times behind us. It makes all the more sense considering that that s exactly how the Native Americans used it centuries ago. In fact, it was custom for tribal chieftains to actually bury a hatchet, the practice being a ceremonial gesture in the event of a peace agreement. "Despite our long-running disagreement, over a few drinks we decided to bury the hatchet."