Famous Sayings #181 — ‘Leap Year’

February 29, 2020

Since it’s 2020, this year is a leap year.

I decided to cheat a little bit and use a term that is very pertinent to this year: leap year. While looking up the history of this term, I learned some interesting facts about the Gregorian calendar and the Earth’s revolution around the sun.

What Is a ‘Leap Year’?

Of course, a normal year according to the Gregorian calendar is one that lasts 365 days. A leap year has an extra day and generally comes every four years. The extra day, called a leap day, is February 29.

Our calendar year does not perfectly match up with the tropical year, which is the time it takes the Earth to make a full revolution around the sun. The Tropical year is also referred to as the solar year astronomical year, or an equinoctial year. We need to add a leap year every four years so that our calendar can line up with the Earth’s revolution around the sun, otherwise, we would lose about six hours every year and a total of 24 days in a century (“When Is the Next”).

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Famous Sayings #180 — ‘Fainthearted/Faint of Heart’

February 17, 2020

Car racing can be a dangerous sport. It’s not for the faint of heart.

fainthearted, faint of heart, famous sayings
I guess you can say that being a surgeon is not for the faint of heart. Image by skeeze from Pixabay.

As I was looking up the term half-hearted for the Famous Sayings post I published on Valentine’s Day, I came across some information for the word “fainthearted” and the related term “faint of heart.”

What Does It Mean to Be Fainthearted?

There are many definitions for the term fainthearted. In short, a fainthearted person:

  • Shows their weakness during difficult or intense situations (“What does”).
  • Is not confident or brave and they may dislike taking unnecessary risks (“FAINTHEARTED”).
  • Lacks courage. They are cowardly and timorous (“Fainthearted”).
  • Will easily experience anxiety or stress when faced with an unpleasant situation, a challenge, a risk, or physical strain (“Faint of heart – Idioms”).
  • May feel uncomfortable or become sick when they see graphic imagery (“Faint of heart – Idioms”).
  • Is squeamish, and thus unable to rise to the occasion (Grammarist).
  • Lacks conviction (Lexico).
  • Is irresolute (Various).

Generally, the term “faint of heart” can be used to refer to a group of timid people (Various). Also, when someone says that something that is “not for the fainthearted” or “not for the faint of heart” that person is saying that the thing in question is extreme or very unusual. Therefore, that thing is not suitable for people who only want to deal with the safe and familiar (“Not for the fainthearted”).

Other times, these terms can be used in the humorous sense to say that something is difficult and that it requires a lot of effort (“something is not”).

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Famous Sayings #179 — ‘Half-Hearted’

February 14, 2020

Despite knowing that she would need to their votes in her race for U.S. Senator, Paula made a half-hearted effort to reach out to this constituency.

Travis made a half-hearted attempt to pick up the trash in the schoolyard.

Dan made a half-hearted attempt to wash the dishes, so I had to step in. I know that was the point. He thinks he’s slick.

half-hearted, halfhearted, heart, Valentines Day, famous sayings

Since it’s Valentine’s Day is, here is a Famous Sayings post that concerns the heart. The term half-hearted is very prescient right now. The meaning is straightforward, but I was surprised to learn of its origin. Maybe you won’t be, but it is interesting.

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