Idioms aren’t supposed to make literal sense: Apples and oranges are easy to compare. Kicking the bucket doesn’t sound like such a bad thing. What if the bucket deserved it? What if it was racist? And sure, there probably are multiple ways to skin a cat, but how did that become the benchmark for comparing task variety? In what time and place in human history did we need so many cats skinned that we developed multiple techniques for it?
Cracked has considered idioms before and even tried to analyze why and how they came to exist, an analysis that in many cases peters out pretty quickly, ending with a shrugging linguist. “I dunno,” the linguist says. “Because fuck those cats, I guess.”
But because we use idioms every day, most of the time we don’t even notice them. It’s only poor foreigners trying to learn our stupid tongue who trip over them. And, in the interest of spreading confusion and bafflement, I realized we can replicate that experience here by considering foreign idioms, some of which are completely bonkers. Here are eight of the bonkeriest, along with some shrug-heavy speculation on how they came to pass.
#8. France: “Bang Your Butt on the Ground”: So what do you think this means? It’s a sex thing, right? Or maybe an earthquake- or fire-preparedness drill, kind of the French equivalent of “stop, drop, and roll”? Read more on Cracked…