Coined In The U.S.

Do you ever wonder where popular phrases like "break a leg" or "jump the gun" came from? Here are 17 other phrases that originated in the U.S. and are still used today.

Apple pie and American flag

As easy as pie

Ladies, if you can bake a good pie, then you know it's no easy feat. However, this phrase refers to the easiness of eating pie. Not creating one.

As happy as a clam

Though you may not find a smiling clam, this phrase is associated with clams being protected from predators during high tide. It is used to describe someone who is very joyful (think landing a new job or finding fabulous shoe deals).

Back to the
drawing board

Sometimes career or relationship plans go awry, and you have to dust yourself off and try again. This phrase has been used since World War II, with acceptance that a design has failed and a new one is needed.

Barking up the
wrong tree

This expression is used when someone makes the wrong assumption. It originated from hunting dogs that barked at the wrong tree to indicate where they thought their prey was hiding.

Beating a dead horse

Trying to get the last word for an argument that has already been resolved is considered beating a dead horse. This phrase may have derived from horse racing where horses were sometimes beaten to move faster.

Between a rock
and a hard place

For a fashionista, having to choose between a bad hair day or wearing a tacky outfit describes being caught between a rock and a hard place. Its origin can be traced back to the U.S. Bankers' Panic of 1907.

Close, but no cigar

This is used when someone is really close to a successful outcome but falls short. This phrase may have come from American fairgrounds of the mid-20thcentury, where cigars were prizes.

Costs an arm and a leg

While we don't know the actual cost for an arm and a leg, chances are, it would not be cheap. This phrase describes something that is very expensive.

Up next: More phrases that are truly American >>

Continue »



Comments on "17 Phrases that are truly American"

+ Add Comment

(required - not published)