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Idioms and Proverbs
"The meaning of these prepositional phrases has evolved over time. Do you know the original "object" of the preposition? I'll PLANT a hint for the next question in each question the way I've PLANTED a hint for my first question in this sentence."
15 Points Per Correct Answer - No time limit
There was a great deal at stake, but having won the race, you feel invigorated. In fact you could say, "I feel in the pink!" At the time that the phrase "in the pink" originated, to which of the following did "pink" point? (Don't forget, there's a hint for the next question in this one, just not in all caps this time. The hints will become less direct as the quiz progresses.)
The rosy pinkness suffusing your healthy cheeks
Plants with pink flowers of the genus dianthus
The pants you wear as a US army officer in winter
Your position behind the helm of a small sailing vessel
My last remark was off-color and out of bounds. You're left quivering with rage. It's clear that I've gone beyond the pale. What would I have gone beyond if I had gone "beyond the pale" in the original sense?
The pale light at the border of an encampment
The pale colored chalky soil in southern England
The line of stakes
A wide band making up a heraldic boundary
It's very distressing. They're making you the scapegoat! You certainly are in quite a dither. If you were in a "dither" in the original Middle English sense of this term, which of the following would best describe you?
You sail resolutely toward shore in full view of the harbor patrol. You realize that what you're about to do could have serious adverse consequences, but you do not hesitate to proceed. After all, you're operating under the aegis of a very powerful individual. On what sort of protection would you be depending had you been under the original "aegis"?
The goatskin shield or breastplate of Zeus
A talisman from the priestess of Dianne
A letter from a Roman emperor
An ornament on the breast showing that you were under the protection of the Egyptian (Aegyptian) god Ra
As you stand on the shore looking out over the water, you feel entirely justified in your belief that something is in the offing. But, if it's "in the offing", where exactly would the something be (if the expression were taken in its original and literal sense?)
In the dung of animals
Between the end of the harbor and the horizon
While on tour, Bob Dylan is sometimes hounded by fans. Dylan once complained, "Being on tour is like being in limbo. It's like going from nowhere to nowhere." When a porter in Shakespeare's "King Henry VIII" quipped, "I have some of 'em in Limbo Patrum" to what original place might he have referenced?
A place in which the un-baptized righteous waited to enter heaven
The fields in which Greek heroes awaited judgment
A place in which sinners awaited the judgment that would determine their fate
The hall in which Norse warriors awaited the coming of Odin
Bleeding from multiple wounds, your shirt in tatters, your adversaries have you at bay. Which of the following scenarios would describe your circumstances if you were "at bay" in the original sense of the term?
Baying hounds would surround you.
Your vessel would be surrounded on the seas with no escape except into the mouth of the bay.
You would stand on the shores of the bay, surrounded, with no ship to carry you away.
Like a baying hound, you would be howling in frustration.
Our candidate has been asked a question at the $1000 a plate banquet. We can see the blank look on his face. Will he be able to answer off the cuff? If our candidate were to literally speak "off the cuff" what action would have to precede his speaking?
Our candidate would first need to consult the notes carried in the cuff of his trousers.
Our candidate would need to be struck sharply on the head to jog his memory.
Our candidate would first need to roll down his sock and read the notes scribbled on the inside.
Our candidate would first need to read from the cuff of his sleeve.
You are whispering hoarsely to a confidant regarding a matter of the highest delicacy. It could be said that you are meeting sub rosa. Which of the following would have indicated a "sub rosa" activity if the event had occurred during ancient Roman times when "sub rosa" had a literal meaning?
The priest of Jupiter sprinkles initiates into the mysteries of Jove with rose scented water.
Senators are whispering together beneath the rostrum of the senate.
In the marketplace, men with red roses on their tunics converse in hushed tones.
There are roses painted on the ceiling of a banquet room where a raucous banquet is in progress.
Once you finish this last question and click on submit, you'll have gone wire to wire with this quiz. But, when the phrase "wire to wire" originated, with what was it associated?
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Compiled Jun 28 12