Trivia Teaser

In the medical sector, what does GP stand for?

Great Pulse
General Pulmonary
Gory Pancreas
General Practitioner

Literary Expressions

10
Oct
2007
 

By Christine Lovatt

Writers have used their imaginations not only to conjure up stories but also to create phrases that add depth and poetry to our everyday speech.

In the twinkling of an eye means ‘in a very short time’. It comes from the Bible, the source of many of the expressions we use today. In the New Testament, Paul talks about what will happen when Christ returns to earth: “We shall all be changed in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet.”

It’s an intriguing question why some phrases used in literature really strike a chord while others fall by the wayside.

Tripping the light fantastic means to dance, especially to do ballroom dancing. It was composed by poet John Milton in his poem L’Allegro, referring to the goddess Mirth:

Come, and trip it, as you go,
On the light fantastic toe;

The expression a fool’s paradise means a state of happiness based on ignorance or denial of potential trouble. It is believed to have been invented by Shakespeare and was used by Juliet’s nurse in Romeo and Juliet: “first let me tell ye, if ye should lead her into a fool's paradise, as they say, it were a very gross kind of behaviour”.

A sea change is another of Shakespeare’s creations. It comes from Ariel’s wonderfully evocative song in The Tempest:

Full fathom five thy father lies:
Of his bones are coral made:
Those are pearls that were his eyes:
Nothing of him that doth fade
But doth suffer a sea-change
Into something rich and strange.

However, while we use it to refer to a move from city to coast, Shakespeare meant that the sea had transformed the body of Ferdinand’s father.

 

Happy puzzling!

 

 

 

1 Response to

Literary Expressions

avatar
buzzybee1 said:
November 17, 2007 at 5:12 PM

 

Thank you Christine! I've often wondered where the expression 'Seachange" came from and, more importantly, what it meant!