Tag Archives: sayings

Anger management

As I was ranting yesterday about the careless Cadillac driver who hit my car and then lied about it, I realized I used a phrase that I didn’t fully understand.

I said that something stuck in my craw. I made a mental note to investigate the origin of the phrase and then never got back to it. I was so steaming mad at myself for being so steaming mad.

I don’t want to be an angry blogger. So I packaged up all the anger I’ve expressed on this blog and filed it under a new Category called “Rants and Raves.” This way, maybe my toxic tantrums can stay tucked tightly away where they can’t infect the other posts.

Eventually I looked up “stick in one’s craw” and confirmed that it meant what I thought: to cause one to feel abiding discontent and resentment.

One source said the phrase comes from something you can’t swallow, based on the literal meaning of craw, which refers to the throat of a bird.

Another source claims “sticks in my craw” is incorrect. She said, “The correct phrase is ‘sticks in my crow.’ ‘Craw’ is a modern corruption of the word ‘crow,’ as in the frequent use of ‘craw’ as verb to describe the sound of crows.” She cited the Oxford English Dictionary.

A blog called Phrase Finder also likened the phrase to having difficulty swallowing something, but elaborated. Citing the Encyclopedia of Word and Phrase Origins by Robert Hendrickson, the site explained that “The craw is the crop or preliminary stomach of a fowl, where food is predigested. Hunters centuries ago noticed that some birds swallowed bits of stone that were too large to pass through the craw and into the digestive tract. These stones, unlike the sand and pebbles needed by birds to help grind food in the pouch, literally stuck in the craw, couldn’t go down any farther. This oddity became part of the language of hunters and the phrase was soon used figuratively.” 

So many blogs, so many perspectives on one issue.

Then of course, the Urban Dictionary contained an entry or two that aren’t suitable for polite company.

I got to thinking of other sayings that express anger. For example, “This really steams my clams.” “That really burns my biscuits.” “This really grinds my gears.”

Do you have any good ones? Once I rant a good litany, we can move on. I can move on.

Tomorrow I’ll clear my craw and be so cheerful you won’t even recognize me.


Filed under All Things Wordish, Reading, Technology and Social Media

Sunday schooling

My thanks go to Merl Reagle, editor of the crossword puzzle in The Washington Post’s Sunday magazine, who practically wrote this blog post for me.

I had intended to write a follow-up to pieces I posted earlier on mispronunciations, misspellings and malapropisms. Then Sunday’s puzzle beat me to it, using something Reagle called “eggcorns.” 

Spoiler alert:  If you haven’t done the Sunday puzzle and intend to, you will want to skip over this for now.

Eggcorns, Reagle explains, are things people say and write that are technically incorrect but have a logic of their own.  For example, the business located to the right of yours is “next store.”  Get it? 

In the puzzle, the clues are what make the incorrect phrases or spellings correct.  I will leave it to you to read those in the crossword itself.  Here I will list a few of the answers as examples of commonly misspelled or mis-uttered phrases.  We should take note, as I suspect we’ve all made at least one of these errors in our lifetimes.  Recognize any?

  1. wet one’s appetite
  2. butt naked
  3. hone in on
  4. sacreligious
  5. bellweather
  6. laxadaisical
  7. expatriot
  8. Here, here
  9. unchartered waters
  10. a tough road to hoe

If any of these looks correct to you, see me after class and I will tell you what it is supposed to be.


Filed under All Things Wordish, Reading