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May you produce children…and, through the children that the Lord will give you by this young woman, may your house be like the house of (an ancestor of David). Ruth 4:11-12


Do you ever wonder where expressions or idioms come from? An idiom is defined as an expression with a special meaning. The website lists a number of fun idioms with surprising origins. “Go the whole nine yards,” for example has nothing to do with football (shows you what I know!). During World War II, the fighter pilots were equipped with nine yards of ammunition. When they ran out, it meant they had tried their best at fighting off the target with the all their ammunition. Hence, the expression came to mean “try your best.” “Giving a cold shoulder” means being unwelcoming toward another person. In medieval England, people gave a cold piece of meat from the shoulder of the animal when the host felt it was time for a guest to leave. The message was, “You’ve overstayed your welcome.” And how about “don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater?” We use it to mean don’t get rid of something valuable while you are cleaning out things you don’t need. Many years ago, people bathed very seldom, and those living in each household used the same water. Adult men bathed first, then the women, then the older kids and finally the babies—in water that was by now filthy. Moms had to take care not to miss a small child when emptying the murky mix!


My friend Bob Albers and I were emailing back and forth about the origin of the term “spitting image.” I searched the Internet and found many different accounts as to how the expression came about. Some had to do with a child looking so much like his parent that he could have been “spat” from the mother or father’s mouth. But the one Bob and I agreed we liked the most and thought was true was that the original saying was “spirit and image.” If a youngster appeared similar to his parents, it was said he had both the “spirit” and the “image” of them. The words became slurred together, but this meaning seems the most flattering.


Lord, make us the “spirit and image” of You! Amen

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