Saturday, December 30, 2006

Why Do We Say That..

To "Coin a Phrase"..

The verb to 'coin' originally meant to literally mint a coin, and dates to the 14th century. Through time, the word became quite common in a variety of guises (coin, coyne, coigne) and in the 16th century was used in the context of creating a 'new' phrase, perhaps a person's concise view regarding a 'gossip' overheard.

Printers used a 'quoin' (small wedges, latterly expanding wedges) to hold type together on the old style 'platen' printing press. In this way, they were creating new phrases.

The "parting shot"..

Parthian shot (PAR-thee-uhn shot) - noun

A hostile remark made in departing [after the natives of Parthia, an ancient country in southwest Asia]. Parthians were expert archers. Their specialty was firing arrows while in, or pretending to be in, retreat which disrupted the enemy forces.


No comments: