Главная страница «Первого сентября»Главная страница журнала «Английский язык»Содержание №13/2008

English Phrase Origins Quiz

1. ‘Give up the ghost’ comes from
a. Charles the First’s speech before his execution
b. Dickens’ Christmas Carol
c. The Bible

2. ‘Namby Pamby’ was
a. A parodying name for the poet Ambrose Philips
b. A soft cheese
c. A nursery rhyme character

3. The phrase ‘Salad Days’ was coined by
a. William Shakespeare
b. Noel Coward
c. Gertrude Jekyll

4. ‘The first water’ referred to
a. Highest quality diamonds
b. The first bottle of brandy taken from a barrell
c. The practise of offering water first to the King in the English court

5. ‘The green-eyed monster’, referring to jealousy comes from
a. The Incredible Hulk
b. Shakespeare’s Othello
c. Thomas Hardy’s Far From the Madding Crowd
d. One of the seven deadly sins

6. The incendiary bomb, the ‘Molotov Cocktail’ was
a. Named after the Soviet premier Molotov
b. Named after a Malayan bird
c. The name of a cocktail first and bomb later

7. ‘Cloud Nine’ is
a. The Buddhist ninth state of enlightenment
b. A 20th century term referring to the ninth meteorological classification of clouds
c. A quotation from Shakespeare’s “Midsummer Night’s Dream”

8. ‘Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned’ comes from
a. William Congreave
b. William Shakespeare
c. The Bible
d. Julius Caesar

9. ‘The full monty’ comes from
a. Field Marshall Montgomerery’s habit of eating a full English breakfast
b. The 1997 film of that name
c. The suits from Burton’s tailors that were given to mobbed soldiers
d. No one really knows
e. The Spanish card game Monte

10. ‘A cock and bull story’ originated
a. In France, with the term cock a l’ane, meaning fanciful story
b. At the Cock and Bull coaching inns in Buckinghamshire
c. From cock fighting terminology

11. ‘Hook, line and sinker’ refers to
a. Fishing tackle
b. The ballast in sailing boats
c. A drink

12. The phrase ‘Catch 22’ was in common use before Joseph Heller’s 1961 novel
a. True
b. False

13. ‘Hold your horses’ was
a. The last command given at the Battle of the Somme
b. A line from Shakespeare’s Henry V
c. An instruction given by a horse race starter

14. ‘Run Amuk’ comes from
a. The Old English for ‘run a mile’
b. The Norse word ‘runeamic’ meaning pillage
c. The Malayan word ‘amok’, meaning frenzy

15. ‘A woman needs a man like a fish needs a bicycle’ was coined by the feminist Gloria Steinem
a. False
b. True

16. ‘A drop in the bucket’ comes from
a. The Bible
b. The sport of netball
c. Chaucer

17. ‘Off with his head’ was coined by
a. William Shakespeare
b. King Henry VIII
c. Lewis Carroll

18. The first person described as a ‘living legend’ and ‘a legend in her own lifetime’ was
a. Florence Nightingale
b. Queen Elizabeth I
c. Sarah Bernhardt

19. The ‘beast with two backs’ became part of the language in
a. The 20th century
b. The 17th century
c. The 18th century
d. The 19th century

20. ‘Woe is me’ was first used in
a. Shakespeare’s Hamlet
b. Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales
c. The Bible

21. ‘Drat it’ comes from
a. A euphemistic version of ‘God rot it’
b. The translation from Latin of “All is lost”
c. Drown it

22. ‘Grin like a Cheshire Cat’ was coined by Lewis Carroll
a. True
b. False

23. ‘He who can does; he who cannot, teaches’ is a quotation of
a. Charles Dickens
b. George Bernard Shaw
c. Margaret Thatcher
d. Oscar Wilde

24. ‘Baker’s Dozen’ originated as
a. Thirteen – the extra one added as bakers’ insurance against giving short weight
b. The title of a 1930’s film
c. Thirteen – the number of ounces in a standard loaf

25. ‘Turn a blind eye’ originates with
a. Tailors turning jackets to hide worn out material
b. Jesus forgiving men’s evil
c. Nelson deliberately refusing to see a signal at the battle of Copenhagen

Answer Key: 1. c; 2. a; 3. a; 4. a; 5. b; 6. a; 7. b; 8. a; 9. d; 10. a; 11. a; 12. b; 13. c; 14. c; 15. a; 16. a; 17. a; 18. a; 19. b; 20. c; 21. a; 22. b; 23. b; 24. a; 25. c.

Compiled by Erin Bouma