Unless you lead a TV and media free life with little to no human interaction EVER there’s no escaping clichés. They’re everywhere. Often the sayings are so common in your family’s vocabulary you don’t realise they are clichés… or that you’ve inherited them and carried them on to your own children.
With that in mind, I’ve decided to share 25 clichéd sayings from my childhood that I’ve never fully been able to forget. Feel free to nod along with me if any relate to you or your upbringing:
1.) It’s always in the last place you look
I used to always hear this and variations like “retrace your steps.” Usually followed by “If I go in there and find it, you’re in trouble” from Mum. I was apparently terrible at locating things as a kid.
So, for me growing up, this seemed like valuable advice. But honestly, as an adult, it’s one of those sayings you can’t help but roll your eyes at. Always in the last place you look? Ummm… yeah, because once you find it you stop looking. Who is seriously going to continue looking for something they’ve just found?
2.) What is this, bush week?
I still have no idea what this means or where it came from. Aside from knowing it meant “no way, are you kidding me?” to whatever I was asking for. Yep, Mum again. Thanks Mum. As you may have guessed by this saying she was definitely Aussie.
3.) Hi Big Ears, Where’s Noddy?
A reference to characters by Enid Blyton. If you didn’t grow up knowing who Noddy and Big Ears were this saying will mean very little to you. I was a curious kid. So, naturally I would “accidentally” eavesdrop on Mum’s phone calls. Then ask her what she was talking about and a million other questions as soon as she got off the phone. I would have made a terrible spy. You’re not supposed to confess to listening in. That’s spy craft 101 right there. This saying was her way of telling me off for being a sticky beak. And yes “sticky beak” is also another saying I grew up with. Gosh, I sound like I was a trouble maker. I had my sweet moments, promise.
4.) Settle Petal.
The rhyming alternative to “calm down.” F word inclusion optional for adults.
5.) A watched pot never boils.
AKA no need to be impatient when waiting for something. Fairly sure I had heard this from my grandparents but this is quite a common saying so I could have heard it numerous times absolutely anywhere.
6.) Another one bites the dust.
How to explain this one… say you had to eat 20 pancakes in one sitting… or cupcakes, yes, let’s go with cupcakes, you might say this as you complete the second one. It’s like “another one down” or “that’s another one all done and dusted”
Anyone else get this song stuck in their head when they hear this phrase?:
7.) Don’t put all your eggs in one basket.
Honestly, this just makes me think of the cool collapsible wire basket with red handles we had growing up. I think it was actually for eggs but I don’t recall it being used. I wonder what happened to it?
I can confidently say I have stopped saying this. It’s more effective to say what you mean without involving eggs or baskets: don’t invest everything in one idea or thing. Have a backup.
8.) Another day another dollar.
I prefer “another day another fifty cents” but that’s the old bitter worker bee side of me making an appearance.
9.) Never judge a book by its cover
I’m still ok with this one. I haven’t grown to hate it yet. Though I’m biased as a book lover.
10.) No skin off my teeth.
Hmm. I’ll let you ponder that one for a while.
11.) Hold your horses/Hang onto your horses.
I didn’t grow up on a ranch. Unfortunately they were only metaphorical horses. No ponies for Tara. Translation: “Wait a second.”
12.) Never trust a person who says “trust me”.
As a kid I took this one seriously for quite a while. I must have really thought it was a telltale sign of working out who was trust worthy or not. Not that I ever really had to challenge or test it out. Hmmm.
13.) What did your last slave die of?
Mum again. Oh, and a little tip, if you do get asked this, they aren’t really looking for an answer. So don’t be a smarty pants.
14.) Somebody has tickets on themselves.
Someone who has a big ego or thinks highly of themselves and isn’t afraid of advertising it. *cough* an old Ex *cough*
15.) As different as chalk and cheese.
Please, someone tell me, who decided to pair these together? I feel like there’s a story behind why these two don’t go together. I’m picturing a western stand off. Or a very poorly made sandwich.
16.) Boys will be boys.
I hate this saying. It’s so dismissive and complacent. Ugh.
17.) It’s raining cats and dogs.
I would like to think people were not throwing pets out of windows when this saying was coined. I’m not too sure of its origin but it has been around in literature for quite some time. I always knew it as simply a reference to heavy rain.
18.) Blind as a bat.
Usually in reference to eyesight. Sometimes blind as in drunk… although “drunk as a skunk” was probably more common for that kind of blind.
19.) Cool as a cucumber.
Apparently in warm weather the inside of a cucumber remains cooler. Huh. Thank you Google. Well that answers the question but why a cucumber? Why have I never questioned this before?
20.) Not the sharpest tool in the shed.
Not the brightest spark, one crayon short of a box, one egg short of a dozen (again with eggs, what’s up with that?). There are many sayings, you get the gist.
21.) It is what it is.
Ah. The phrase you whip out when you can’t be bothered explaining or changing something.
22.) Because Y is a crooked letter.
Yes. I was one of those kids who always asked “why” a million times even if I really didn’t care about the answer.
23.) All dressed up with no place to go.
I think this was in reference to cancelled plans. Either that or I was prone to dressing up for no reason? *starts questioning whole childhood*
24.) Everything happens for a reason.
Does it though? Does it?
25.) Chip on your shoulder.
For people who liked to balance potato chips on their shoulder for fun. Just kidding. Holding a grudge. I like to think of it in reference to having something “chip away at you”.