Friday, November 8, 2019

Romantic expressions - part 2 by J. S. Marlo

Like I said last month, I'm fascinated by expressions & idioms. In my October blog, I covered some criminal expressions, but since I write romantic suspense, not just suspense, there's also a romantic side to my stories.
So, here are some expressions about love and romance, their meanings, and their origins:

- To fall head over heels in love (late 1700s): to fall deeply and completely in love. "Heels over head" used to describe a bad fall, but then in the late 1700s,  it changed to "Head over heels" to describe falling in love.

- Sugar Daddy (early 1900s): a rich older man who lavishes gifts on a young woman in return for her company or sexual favors. In 1908, Adolph Spreckels, heir to the Spreckel's sugar fortune, married a woman who was 24 years younger than him. She called him "Sugar Daddy".

-  On the rocks (late 1800s): a relationship experiencing problems. It was originally used for ships which ran aground on rocks and broke apart. Since the late 1800s it has been used figuratively for other disasters or problems.
- The course of true love never did run smooth (1598): people in love often have to overcome difficulties in order to be with each other. It was first used by William Shakespeare in his play "A Midsummer Night's Dream".
people in love often have to overcome difficulties in order to be with each other (
- No love lost (1800s): there is a mutual dislike between two people. It originated in the 1500s where it meant extreme love or extreme hate. Then in 1800s, it began to signify hate exclusively.

- Labour of love: a task done for the pleasure of doing it, not for gains or reward. It originated in the Bible.

- Pop the question (1826): ask someone to marry you. It has been used since 1725, but with the meaning of asking something important. The specific sense of proposing marriage has been used since 1826.

- Kiss and make up (mid 1900s): become reconciled. In the mid 1900s, it replaced the expression "kiss and be friends", which had been used since the 1400s.

- Wear one's heart on one's sleeve (1604): make one's feelings apparent. It was first recorded in Shakespeare's play "Othello".

- Marry in haste, repent at leisure (1693):  those who rush impetuously into marriage may spend a long time regretting it. First originated in print in "The Old Batchelour" by William Congreve.
- Get hitched (1600s): get married. It was initially used in 1500s to describe tying horses to wagons. Then in 1600s, it started being used to describe two people getting married.

- Cupboard love (mid 1700s): affection given in order to gain a reward. It derives from the way a cat shows superficial love for a person who feeds it, or for the cupboard that holds its food.

- Hell has no fury like a woman scorned (1697): a betrayed woman is more furious than anything  hell can devise. The English playwright and poet William Congreve first wrote these words in his play "The Mourning Bride".

Time to go back to writing, and maybe use one or two expressions.

Happy reading!


  1. All those lovely cliches. Finding their origin makes for interesting reading.

  2. Love them. I was brought up on sayings as my mother had a host of them she would use--often I had no idea what they meant, and sometimes I think she had no idea either. They just seemed to suit the moment.


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