Of all the expressions that fill the languages of the world, “Loose Lips Sink Ships” is probably my favorite. I know what it means; i really don’t have much reason to use it. Hardly any. Pop phrases like this are many times proceeded by “Well, you know what they say..” Examples: “Well, you know what they say…
– A fool and his money are soon parted.
– You’re just beating a dead horse.
– Curiosity killed the cat.
– Don’t look a gift horse in the mouth.
– Every cloud has a silver lining.
You catch my drift? See there’s one right there. Where the hell did that come from? I know what a drift is , but i don’t get how anyone catches a drift. Anyway, we use them far more than we even know. They’re used to juice our language. They add some color; they spice things up. It’s like, who wants an egg salad sandwich without pepper, mayo and catchup? Who wants a car without an FM radio, GPS and brakes? It’s like Rock and Roll without the riffs. (This is where you add your own analogies.)
We all have our favorites, right? And there are ones that i absolutely will not use. “Yada yada yada”. That’s one. That’s what people use when they are telling another that what that person is saying is not listen-worthy. It’s a phrase that’s many times used to “run someone down”. (Another one…) I guess it could also be used to describe someone else’s article.
Try a little experiment with yourself. No. Not that kind. Spend a day listening to what others say in their normal conversations with you. Keep a mental count of how many times you hear people use “pop” phrases. Alternately, you can keep that count either by writing it down or just saying the number out loud as they are spoken. You’ll be surprised at two things. First, the amazing count you’ll have at the end of the day, and second, the really strange looks you get from people as you say numbers as they speak. It’s really a good experiment. I made it up myself.
Here’s another. Try going a day engaging in normal conversation without using any popular phrases at all. Good luck with that. I bet you won’t get through the first 15 minutes successfully. Additionally, you’ll bore your listener even more than normal. Tell your friends about it; have them blow one of those loud whistles every time you use a pop phrase. You’ll be deaf within a half-hour. I’m telling you, it’s like having an egg salad sandwich without… well; you know.
Different generations have their own. My folks’ had theirs, just like mine and my kids have. Dad’s favorite, for example, was “go to hell!”. You already know what mine is. And one of my kid’s favorites is “go to hell!”. (Some are timeless). If you want to waste a little time, imagine what your grandkids’ generation will come up with. Write them down, put them in an envelope and give them to your kids with strict instructions that the envelopes aren’t to be opened until their kids’ 21st birthday. 21 years from now, your grandchildren will want to know if “Pops” ever used drugs.
If you find yourself really getting into this whole “pop” phrase thing, begin investigating what phrases are popular in different cultures around the world. It could be interesting. I haven’t done it, mostly because i’m not moved to do so.
There are sites that specifically present a myriad of such phrases and what they mean, where they come from, how old they are, and how they evolved. Try this one: http://www.knowyourphrase.com/. It loads you up with of tons of information. You can spend oodles of time in there. For instance, let’s look one up together: “The Plot Thickens”. Most people have a handle on this one, but almost no one knows its origin. I do. I just looked it up here: http://www.knowyourphrase.com/phrase-meanings/Plot-Thickens.html.
You know what sucks? I just noticed that “Loose Lips Sink Ships” isn’t even listed on this particular site. That really blows. But guess what… i found it here on this other site: http://www.phrases.org.uk/meanings/237250.html Here’s the origins of this phrase… “This phrase was coined as a slogan during WWII as part of the US Office of War Information’s attempt to limit the possibility of people inadvertently giving useful information to enemy spies. The slogan was actually ‘Loose Lips Might Sink Ships. This was one of several similar slogans which all came under the campaigns basic message – ‘Careless Talk Costs Lives’”… See how much fun this is? Like i said, oodles of time. If you’ve gotten this far, you’re probably “hooked”. Hello? Are you still here??