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Where'd that phrase come from #53

Created date

April 18th, 2013

In like Flynn

We all know Errol Flynn as the swashbuckling hero of the silver screen, most notably as Robin of Locksley, clad in green tights and toting a leather quiver packed with arrows. But off the screen, Flynn drank, partied, and womanized habits that caught up with him in 1942 when two under-age girls accused him of statutory rape. Flynn went on trial and did so with a massive support system spearheaded by a group called the American Boys' Club for the Defense of Errol Flynn. The movie star beat the case, was cleared of all charges, and resumed his career as though nothing had happened. In fact, the only lasting effect that the case had on Flynn s image was a greatly enhanced reputation as a ladies man. Etymologists believe that his revitalized status as a suave womanizer provides the basis for our use of the phrase, In like Flynn, meaning that someone achieved what he wanted and did it with ease. When he told the interviewer that he went to Harvardandwas a relative of the boss, he was in like Flynn.

Whipping boy

In the age before democracy or even democratic monarchies, for that matter, a king was second only to God. Everything associated with him including his child was sacred. That said, the king was the only person allowed to punish a prince, a fact that presented a small problem considering that the king was rarely around to do it. The solution was a whipping boy; a child of high status who lived with the prince, played with the prince, and was educated alongside the prince. He was the royal child s shadow and he would take a beating if the prince deserved it. Although the practice was a fixture in English courts predominantly in the 15thand 16thcenturies, the title is still very much alive in modern parlance. To be someone s whipping boy means that you ll take the blame or the fallout for that person, a most unpleasant job. When the multinational corporation went under financially, executives used the senior accountant as a whipping boy.

Lamb to the slaughter

A lamb to the slaughter is a person or animal, helpless and unwitting, who is led to their destruction without a fight. Given its melodramatic tone, it should come as no surprise that we found it first in the bible. Jeremiah 11:19reads: But I was like a gentle lamb led to the slaughter; and I did not know that they had devised plots against me An innocent young girl from Minnesota, she had no idea what she was getting into when she married the New York socialite. She was a lamb to the slaughter.

The Nth degree

When we talk about doing something to the Nth degree, we mean to a limit that is almost immeasurable. The phrase comes from mathematicians use ofNas a variable that represents an infinite amount and, often, an arbitrary one. During cross-examination, the prosecutors questioned her to the Nth degree.