Origins of Common Phrases

Umble pie

Humble pie
Most of us like pie; there may even be a few types that we love, whether you tend toward fruits or meats. So, how did the pastry come to mean humility? Dating back to the Middle Ages in England, the expression to eat humble pie was once to eat umble pie. The “umbles” were the intestines or less appetizing parts of an animal and servants and other lower class people ate them. So if a deer was killed the rich ate venison and those of low status ate umble pie. In time it became corrupted to eat humble pie and came to mean a way of debasing yourself or act with humility, as one mingles and shares a table with those who are socially “beneath” them.

Pygg bank

Piggy bank
Back in the 15th century, many household objects such as pots and jars were made of a type of clay called “pygg”. People often saved up their money by storing it in those kitchen pots and jars calling them “pygg jars”. Then, apparently sometime in the 18th century, someone asked for a “pygg bank” expecting a clay container to store money in. fair enough given the practice of the day back then, however it resulted in receiving a pig-shaped bank. Thus, an icon was born. Once the meaning had transferred from the substance to the shape, piggy banks began to be made from other substances, including glass, plaster, and plastic.

Bobby pin
On August 6th 1882 Robert Pinney invented a clip to hold together loose strands of twine in his shoe factory. His wife teased that the clip was too tight to hold the twine effectively & could only hold something as fine as hair. After a few modifications, 3 weeks later Robert Pinney officially released the ‘Bobby Pin’ and has been helping style hair ever since. A trademark on the term “bobby pin” was held for some decades by Smith Victory Corporation of Buffalo, New York. A trademark infringement claim made by Smith Victory against Proctor & Gamble regarding them naming their home permanent product Bobbi was settled in the 1950s by a payment to Smith Victory by P&G. The term is now in common usage and therefore is no longer a valid trademark.


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