October 17, 2007


Like many bloggers, I've been inspired to start a little once-weekly special themed post of my own. Welcome to the first Why We Say It Wednesday.

Each Wednesday, I'll post the fascinating story behind an everyday word or phrase. I will try to make it a word or phrase I've recently come across in conversation, to give us that personal edge, ya know. So be on the look out for a quote by you in the Where I Heard It section.

Why Why We Say It Wednesday, you say? (nice sentence, huh?) I'm so glad you asked.

If you know me and you know my brother, you may not be surprised to read that I was inspired by Bryan. We have the same quirky (ok, sometimes dorky) sensibility for and fascination with random (ok, sometimes useless) information and things. So he's always inspiring me. For instance, this whole Why We Say It Wednesday thing was sparked because Bryan wrote in an email
". . . X might not be all it is cracked up to be. {What the crap does that phrase even mean? I never thought about it till now. Cracked up to be?}. . . "
Of course, now also pondering that question, I went to the reference section of my home library to consult the book Why You Say It: The Fascinating Stories Behind Over 600 Everyday Words and Phrases.

I found the answer and emailed him back. Voila! The idea for Why We Say It Wednesday was born.

Thanks, bro. I love you!

So here goes, the very first Why We Say It Wednesday phrase is (drum roll please!)

"All it's cracked up to be"

What It Means: something that is not all it's cracked up to be is something not as good as people say it is, something not as good as previously reported, something not as good as one expected

Where I Heard It: "After reading all the stuff online about it, I have this little tiny feeling that the Maker Faire might not be all it is cracked up to be."
- B. Silverthorne

Why We Say It: Sitting around the cracker barrel in a general store and swapping yarns, some idlers always evoked laughter. Others who told stories got only stares in response--the listeners didn't crack a smile.

Since hearty laughter constitutes a signal that a tale--or its teller--has hit the bull's eye, cracked faces came to signify "first class." Once that usage was established, it was an easy step to label anything inferior as "not what it is cracked up to be."

Check back next Wednesday and find out if Why We Say It Wednesday is all it's cracked up to be.

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