Famous Sayings #133 — ‘Truth Is Stranger Than Fiction’

January 21, 2019

Sometimes, the truth is stranger than fiction.

truth is stranger than fiction, famous sayings
Image via Pixabay by Engin_Akyurt

Sorry for the lateness of this post, but I was pre-occupied by Championship Sunday in the NFL. This post was also delayed because I decided close to Sunday to choose this expression to examine this week.

That said, “truth is stranger than fiction” is one expression I kind of like. Not only is it easy to understand, but it contains a bit of sardonic humor. In a way, it allows those who use it to “break the fourth wall,” so to speak.

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Famous Sayings #132 — ‘To Tell the Truth, the Whole Truth …’

January 13, 2019

Do you solemnly swear to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, so help you God?


to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help you God, judicial oath, witness testimony, court
Witnesses in court are customarily sworn in while holding their hands on a holy book or plain black book. They must promise to “tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth …” under the threat of perjury. The image was taken via a screenshot. (Video)


While brainstorming for this year, I decided to investigate the words “to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but …” because those words are so familiar. If you’re an American, you might have heard the above sentence in certain legal situations, but there are different versions on it in various states and in different countries. For this post, though, I will be looking more closely at the terms in an American context.

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Famous Sayings #131 — ‘Turn the Page’

January 6, 2019

That last project may have been difficult for many of us, but it is time to turn the page.

turn the page, new year, 2019, Bob Seger, famous sayings
Image from Pexels

Since it’s a new year, I wanted to start it off right by publishing the first Famous Sayings post on the first Sunday of 2019. (It wasn’t easy, given the projects I’m working on, my problems with procrastination, and my preoccupation with the NFL playoffs). That said, let’s look at a phrase that has some connection to a new year (if not by its origin).

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Famous Sayings #130 — ‘Send in/Here Comes the Cavalry’

Send in the cavalry! We need to help this area in its search and rescue effort.

We heard that you were understaffed, so here comes the cavalry!

send in the cavalry, here comes the cavalry, cavalry and calvary, famous sayings, Veterans Day

November 11 is Veteran’s Day in the United States, so as usual, I wanted to look at a phrase that pertains to the military. This one is a two-for, because while “Send in the cavalry” and “Here comes the cavalry” may be sentences used in the same situation, there is a slight difference in the connotation. Also, the first saying is easier to understand — at least immediate.

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Famous Sayings #129 — ‘Civic Duty’

November 4, 2018

Make sure you vote on Tuesday if you can and you haven’t already. Participating in your government is your civic duty.

civic duty, civil responsibility, vote, famous sayings

Since Election Day is in 2 days, I thought I’d look at a related term. (Today is also when Daylight Saving Time ends in the U.S., so turn back your clocks if you haven’t already.)

What Is a Civic Duty?

A civic duty is an obligation one has in their society. Another name for a civic duty is a civic responsibility.

Basically, a civic responsibility pertains to duties of citizens to participate in their society and democracy (if they have one). In order to fully participate in a (democratic) society and uphold it, citizens must exhibit certain attitudes, uphold certain values, and carry out specific actions. For that society to run effectively and smoothly, all citizens must do their part.

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Famous Sayings #128 — ‘New Blood’

October 29, 2018

Finally, we get to see some new blood in the playoffs. I was getting tired of seeing the same old teams in the postseason.

new blood, famous sayings
An office setting seems to be the most common situation where the expression “new blood” is used. Many businesses always look for ways to remain fresh, so new people are brought on not just to replace departing workers, but the bring on a people with different perspectives.

So, Halloween is less than two days away. I chose this expression because it is close to Halloween and I thought I could make a vampire at a blood bank joke, but this expression isn’t scary at all — unless you have a fear of change.

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Famous Sayings #127 — ‘Silence Is Golden’

October 21, 2018

Speech is silver; silence is golden.

silence is golden, speech is silver, famous sayings

This is a quick post, but the saying I’m looking at today is very meaningful and timeless.

What Does the Phrase ‘Silence Is Golden’ Mean?

The phrase “Silence is golden” means silence has an often underestimated value. This saying is often used at times when it is believed that saying nothing is preferable than saying anything. Speech is important for us to communicate with each other, but sometimes, silence is more effective. Truth be told, many people don’t recognize that some moments call for their silence.

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Famous Sayings #126 — ‘What Goes Around Comes Around…’

October 14, 2018

You should be careful how you treat others because, as they say, ‘What goes around comes around …’

what goes around comes around, what comes around goes around, famous sayings, karma, interpersonal relationships, the environment

Believe it or not, I selected this famous saying months ago. As it turns out, one judge, in particular, decided to use this phrase in a purely partisan, angry, inflammatory statement he gave in front of the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee. Y’all know what happened, but let’s put that aside for a few moments and take a look at this idiom.

What Does ‘What Goes Around Comes Around’ Mean?

The idiom “What goes around comes around” (alternatively: “What comes around goes around”) can mean one of two things:

  1. It can refer to a process of something returning to its original value or place after going through a cycle or rotation (Wiktionary).
  2. whatever a person does to someone else might be done to them
  3. The way one person treats another person might determine how the first person is treated at a later time.
  4. Depending on what a person does, they will face some consequences.

The first sense is rarely used and is more akin to the phrase “full circle.” More often, when we say, “what comes around goes around,” we are using the phrase in the second, third, or fourth sense. This is akin to “You reap what you sow.”

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Famous Sayings #125 — ‘Don’t Dish It Out…’

October 7, 2018

You just criticized Alice’s work ethic, but you got mad when she pointed out that you like to cut corners in your work. Don’t dish it out if you can’t take it.

don't dish it out, if you can't take it, you can dish it out, but you can't take it, famous sayings
Image by Drew Coffman via Flickr. Some Rights Reserved.

This should be a quick one. The meaning of this saying is fairly self-evident, and the origin is interesting enough.

What Does Someone Mean When They Say, ‘Don’t Dish It Out If You Can’t Take It’?

The saying “Don’t dish it out if you can’t take it” means ones of three things:

  1. To literally serve food. In terms of cooking, cooks were advised not to serve (dish out) any entrees that they were unwilling to eat.
  2. To distribute something, like advice, information, money, news, etc. This is generally positive.
  3. To give out abuse, criticism, insults, punishments, etc. It pertains to how people treat each other, especially in the verbal sense. An alternative to this saying is “You can dish it out, but you can’t take it.”

We usually refer to “dishing something out” in the third sense, and we are describing people who express harsh thoughts, harshly criticize others, or insult others. These same people could not take a fraction of the abuse they’re giving. Thus, this saying basically deals with hypocrisy and evenness. It’s similar to the saying “People [who live] in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones.”

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Famous Sayings #124 — ‘Fair-Weather Friend/Fan’

October 1, 2018

I see that Georgia wouldn’t loan you the money even though she had it and you loaned her money when she needed it. I told you: She is a fair-weather friend.

Hey, where we you when the team was losing? You’re just a fair-weather fan.

fair-weather friend, fair-weather fan, Alexander Pope, sports fans, famous sayings
I’m not taking a jab at (other) 49ers fans, but the NFL does have quite a bit of fair-weather fans. So do other sports. I will say that I’m not a fan of the 49ers’ move to Santa Clara, though. Image from Pixabay.

This week, I chose a couple of phrases that are connected in meaning, but the first may have first been recorded in this day in history.

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