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17 Phrases that are truly American

Kendra Y. Mims is a freelance writer and online content editor in the Chicagoland area. She holds a bachelor’s degree from Columbia College Chicago in journalism. Her passions include writing, reading, and traveling.

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

9

This phrase can shorten conversations with long-winded people, as it means "get to the point." It originated in the U.S. film industry, and its first reference can be traced to the 1927 musical The Jazz Singer.

10

Two people who look almost identical can be described as dead ringers (think Natalie Portman and Kiera Knightley or Jordin Sparks and America Ferrera). The term is traced back to the end of the 19thcentury, when "ringer" horses were used to defraud the bookies.

11

This expression applies to guilty people who must deal with consequences. It was originally coined for disgraced soldiers who were drummed out of their squad.

12

Several celebrity divas have made the news for throwing hissy fits, especially when it comes to dealing with the paparazzi. It originated in the U.S. to describe an outburst or tantrum.

13

This expression was coined by U.S. president Harry S. Truman. The meaning: If you can't deal with a task because of the pressure, stop doing it.

14

Although it's not an official apology, the phrase means to admit a mistake and accept blame. It originated in the 1970s.

15

Sometimes it's the newness of a relationship, spending time with loved ones or savoring a piece of chocolate that puts us on cloud nine, a blissful state of happiness.

16

Telling someone not to pull the wool over your eyes means that you are aware of their deceit. It is suggested that this phrase derived from woolen wigs worn by men and women in the 16thand 17thcenturies.

17

This phrase (said with an outstretched vertical palm) simply means, "Stop talking because I'm done listening." It is associated with the 1990s and became popularized by the 1992 sitcom Martin.

More on history

Black history month

History of the American flag

Historical events to inspire Mad Men

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