50 sayings that are off to the knackers yard!

A few years ago I wrote a book called My New Book – Straight from the Horse’s Mouth : 100 Idioms, their Meanings and Origins which always sells quite by my standards, especially at Christmas. Words and sayings have been such a rich source of our culture and often inspired by history, even if it is low-level every day life.

Because life is always changing, there comes a time when saying simply drop out of favour and are rarely if ever heard again. Some sayings last for centuries or even millennia if the concept behind them is well known and still something we can relate to.

Others slowly decline over the centuries but maintain a certain level of awareness and use such as those in my book and some come and go like a flash in the pan!

Available in paperback, kindle, iBooks and other formats.

I think some of it may be that people are in some ways more drab in how they speak as well as the inevitable disconnect between the modern world and the past.

Here are 50 sayings which have been classified as being ‘endangered’. How many of them do you still use or at least know of? Don’t get your knickers in a twist!

Britain’s 50 ‘endangered’ sayings 

(Percentage of recipients who never use the phrase)

  1. Pearls before swine 78% 
  2. Nail your colours to the mast 71%
  3. Colder than a witch’s t– 71%
  4. Pip pip 70%
  5. Know your onions 68%
  6. A nod is as good as a wink 66%
  7. A stitch in time saves nine 64%
  8. Ready for the knackers yard 62%
  9. I’ve dropped a clanger 60%
  10. A fly in the ointment 59%
  11. Keen as mustard 58%
  12. A flash in the pan 57%
  13. Tickety boo 57%
  14. A load of codswallop 56%
  15. A curtain twitcher 56%
  16. Knickers in a twist 56%
  17. Dead as a doornail 55%
  18. A dog’s dinner 55%
  19. It’s chock a block 55%
  20. Storm in a teacup 55%
  21. Could not organise a p— up in a brewery 54%
  22. Not enough room to swing a cat 54%
  23. Flogging a dead horse 54%
  24. Toe the line 54%
  25. Popped her clogs 54%
  26. Drop them a line 53%
  27. Steal my thunder 53%
  28. A few sandwiches short of a picnic 53%
  29. A legend in one’s own lifetime 52%
  30. Be there or be square 52%
  31. Fell off the back of a lorry 52%
  32. A bodge job 52%
  33. Eat humble pie 52%
  34. Having a chinwag 52%
  35. Put a sock in it 52%
  36. Mad as a Hatter 51%
  37. Spend a penny 51%
  38. Cool as a cucumber 51%
  39. It’s gone pear shaped 51%
  40. It cost a bomb 51%
  41. Raining cats and dogs 51%
  42. See a man about a dog 51%
  43. It takes the biscuit 50%
  44. He’s a good egg 50%
  45. Snug as a bug in a rug 49%
  46. Chuffed to bits 49%
  47. Have a gander 49%
  48. Selling like hot cakes 49%
  49. Pardon my French 48%
  50. A Turn up for the books 45%

About Stephen Liddell

I am a writer and traveller with a penchant for history and getting off the beaten track. With several books to my name including several #1 sellers. I also write environmental, travel and history articles for magazines as well as freelance work. I run my private tours company with one tour stated by the leading travel website as being with the #1 authentic London Experience. Recently I've appeared on BBC Radio and Bloomberg TV and am waiting on the filming of a ghost story on British TV. I run my own private UK tours company (Ye Olde England Tours) with small, private and totally customisable guided tours run by myself!
This entry was posted in Culture, Heritage, history, Life, writing and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to 50 sayings that are off to the knackers yard!

  1. I live in the States & I hear most of these quite often. Of course, I’m elderly LOL

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I love how language changes. I bought this book and it is sitting on my bookshelf now – it is a lively resource !

    Like

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