Why Do We Use These 8 Common Sayings?

With roots deep in the past, these expressions all started somewhere. Take a peek at some of the most plausible explanations of where our common idioms come from.

3) Spick and Span

Via/ Nationaal Archief

From the Norse words spann-nyr (meaning a chip of wood) comes our English phrase. Span-nyr became span-new which referred to newly built items made of wood. By the 17th century, the phrase further evolved to “spick and span” with its meaning shifted from new to clean. Cashing in on a familiar phrase, the cleaner we all grew up with only cemented this idiom further into how we speak.

4) Upper Crust

Via/ Library of Congress

This idiom supposedly grew from the way bread was baked in feudal England. Large stone ovens would be filled with coals, then raked clean. The loaves of bread were then set inside to bake on the hot stone floor of the oven. However, it was difficult to get all the coals and debris from the oven and loaves were left with a burnt or dirty bottom crust, which was then cut off. Lords and ladies got the upper crust while servants and beggars got the bottom crust. Thus, those with money and standing are the upper crusts of society. Aren’t you glad we slice bread from top to bottom these days?

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