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Funny English Idioms - and why we say them!

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Published on Jan 7, 2018

Funny English Idioms - and why we say them!
English people use some funny idioms and expressions. We love them, especially if they are about going to the toilet!

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Julian McDonnell, that's me, runs a London vlog and youtube channel where he talks about all things to do with London which you may not have known. This includes language and the way English people speak.
Amongst many other funny idioms for going to the toilet one of the oldest ones is "To Spend a Penny". This came about because it used to cost one penny to go to the public lavatories when they first appeared on the streets in 1851!

Hopefully this video will help you to understand the origins of these funny English idioms and expressions and help you to learn English or they may even be helpful if you are an ESL teacher or TEFL.

Another funny English idiom is when we say "He was sent to Coventry". This indicates somebody who has been ostrasized and no one wants to talk to. Watch the video to find out how this came about.

Did you ever hear someone use the idiom "To hear a pin drop"? This actually originates from the tea auctions where you were only allowed to bid for a certain amount of time. They put a pin into a candle and let it burn down. When the pin fell out if there were no more bids you could hear a pin drop!

Our fourth funny idiom is a baker's dozen. Anyone will tell you that a dozen is 12 but a baker's dozen is 13! This is because in 1266 there was a law that would penalise bakers if they sold less than they said they were selling! So to make sure they weren't short of their weight they would add a thirteenth loaf just to make sure.

Then comes our final idiom - To be on the wagon.
This means that someone is not drinking alcohol and it originates from the days when criminals would be hanged. They would stop at the Resurrection Gate pub and be bought one last drink but after that drink they had to get back onto the wagon and couldn't drink any more. Then the wagon would take them to the gallows.

To make it more fun I have tried to show some of the locations which would have been affected by these expressions as well as point out some interesting historical facts which are related to them.

I go to Twinings in The Strand, The Royal Exchange, Pudding Lane and St Giles in the Fields

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