Yesterday we talked about phrases and Producer Eddie told us, what he thought was legit, the origin behind "close, but no cigar." He was totally wrong so we did some research on the real origin behind a lot of common phrases.
"Close, but no cigar."
Carnivals used to give out cigars as prizes, so almost winning would get you close to achieving a cigar, but not quite. The phrase evolved in meaning and now refers to coming close to a goal but falling short.
“Bite the Bullet”
If there was no time to administer anesthesia, surgeons would make soldiers bite down on a bullet in an attempt to distract them from the pain. It was only done during emergency situations.
"Can't hold a candle to..."
Before electricity, workers needed a second set of hands to hold a candle for them. Holding a candle was clearly a less challenging job, so someone who isn't even qualified to provide light to a competent worker obviously wouldn't be able to perform the task himself.
"Mind your p's and q's."
In the 17th century, pubs served beer in pints and quarts. If someone was getting unruly, the bartender might warn them to mind their p's and q's. Now the term simply means to mind your manners, drunk or not.
The phrase "sleep tight" dates from the time when mattresses were supported by ropes. These ropes needed to be pulled tight to provide a stable mattress and a good night's rest.