Shopping Cart

The Time has Come

Posted on

Hey, Camp Fans! 

Dive with us on another investigation into those abundant phrases and old sayings that are so woven into our everyday speech that, often enough, we don’t even realize we’re using them. These sayings are more specifically referred to as idioms or adages. Today’s adage: ‘Face the Music’. 

As you can probably gather from the context in which you’ve heard it used, the phrase ‘Face the Music’ means to accept and confront the unpleasant consequences of the actions you took. For example: Tom decided to admit that he didn’t do his homework and face the music. 

The exact origin of this phrase is unknown, but there are a few good guesses: 

Theory 1
When an officer in the military is relieved of their duties due to a failure to uphold the law of their office, they call it a dishonorable discharge. In older times, a spectacle would be made in a number of ways including playing the drums solemnly behind them or ‘drumming them out’ of the regiment. 

Theory 2
Another theory is that it applies to the high-pressure stage setting where actors sweat through a performance literally facing the orchestra pit. This theory would have it that fellow actors would say to one another when it was someone’s turn to take the stage—“time to face the music.” 

Theory 3
‘Face the Music’ could also come from the West Gallery singing from the west galleries of Old English churches—the idea being that the singing common folk weren't allowed to sit in the parts of the church reserved for the nobility. Only the upper class was allowed to face the music of the singing choir. 

The next time you need to fess up to something, just get it over with and face the music! Enjoy another adage origin Blog post from the past by clicking right here. And, as always, thanks for reading! 


- John

Check out THESE Pipes

Posted on

Hey, Music Fans!

Why do we say the same, centuries-old phrases and sayings? Most of the time we say them without even knowing it. They’re so built in to our daily speech that we don’t even think about it. Folks find themselves saying phrases like ‘Stick out like a Sore Thumb’ and ‘Showing the Ropes’. Today we’re examining the origin of the phrase ‘Pull Out all the Stops’.

What does it mean? This is one common saying whose message isn’t quite so clear (though you may be able to guess from the context in which you’ve heard it), ‘Pull Out all the Stops’ means to make every possible effort in order to make something happen. So what exactly what kind of ‘stops’ are we talking about pulling out here?

Well, several centuries ago, people started using the word ‘stop’ in a musical context. It actually referred to a key or note. Thus, a sheet of music could be described as being ‘full of stops’.

With its foot already in the musical door, 'stop' sort of dropped its connotation as a musical note and went on to be used to refer to the knobs in pipe organs that control the airflow through the pipes—either by pushing them in or pulling them out. Pulling out the stops increases the volume coming out.

At this point in time, anyone talking about pulling out the stops was literally referring to these pipe organ knobs. However, the phrase slowly acquired a figurative sense. It was first recorded with figurative use in an 1865 essay written by one Matthew Arnold.

The next time you’re faced with a challenging task, pull out all the stops to see it through! Enjoy another adage origin Blog post from the past by clicking right here. And, as always, thanks for reading!


- John

The All Correct...

Posted on

Hey, Camp Folks!

‘OK’ goes back to the 1830s. You know how people love to abbreviate things nowadays like tbh, omw, and lol? Well, that’s not exactly new. Folks back in the 1830s started abbreviating quick sayings. To turn it into something of an inside joke for those that understood, kids started purposefully misspelling quick sayings. Instead of “No Go”, they would say KG for ‘know go’. Or maybe they’d say OW for “oll write”.  

A common abbreviation they used was ‘OK’—short for “oll korrect”. All Correct was already a common phrase in the 1800s used to confirm that everything was in order. But it’s misspelled and abbreviated version really started taking off when it was published in the Boston Morning Post on March 23, 1839. Other papers started using it too and before long it spread across the country!

After that, OK started gaining so much traction that supporters of the President at the time, Martin Van Buren, started using the abbreviation for his reelection campaign. Being from Kinderhook, NY, Martin's message was that “Old Kinderhook” was “oll korrect”. His opponents turned it around on him, however, saying the OK stood for an “Orful Katastrophe”.

Use in the presidential campaign cemented OK in American culture and language. But by 1844, OK was elevated from slang into official and practical use with the invention of the telegraph. OK proved itself to be very helpful in a media that valued short messages being relayed by Morse Code. O and K were easy letters to tap out and were unlikely to be confused with anything else.  

OK has lasted long after those other misspelled abbreviations have been forgotten. How strange that an inside joke from Boston nearly 200 years ago has maintained its popularity even now. Enjoy giving confirmation going forward and, as always, thanks for reading.


- John

For the Show

Posted on

Hey, Camp Folks!

Have you ever wondered to yourself why we have certain phrases and sayings that are really built into our everyday speech. Folks find themselves saying phrases like ‘Fly off the Handle’ and ‘Keep it Up’. Often enough, people don’t even realize they’re using one of these sayings or adages—they’re just such a part of our language.

Today we’re examining the origin of the phrase ‘Break a Leg’. Ironically, we use this phrase as a means of wishing someone good luck. While you can really say this to anyone, intending to wish them good luck, this phrase is most commonly used in the context of wishing actors and stage performers a good show on the opening night of a play.

Most people think the saying ‘Break a Leg’ comes from the American theater community throughout the 1900s. The acting community (at least back then) was guilty of some superstitious behavior. And that, as you might imagine, is where today’s phrase comes into play.  

Actors and actresses had come to believe that saying something like "good luck" would actually have the opposite effect on the stage. Therefore, they picked a disastrous misfortune such as a broken leg and wished that upon a fellow actor with the intention that the opposite would happen and they would have an excellent, flawless show.

There are a number of other superstitions for which the theater community has a history of being cautious over. Whistling backstage is frowned upon, believing that it will bring bad luck. Mirrors are also thought to bring bad luck as well as reflecting light that could disrupt the show. Three lit candles are often thought to be a good thing but, once again, onstage this is said to be very unlucky.

So folks, in conclusion, be careful when you’re on the stage. Things seem to have the opposite effect up there. Enjoy another adage origin Blog post from the past by clicking right here. And, as always, thanks for reading!


- John

Is that Egg on Me?

Posted on

Hey, Foodless Faces!

Today I have another interesting old adage to look into. The term adage may be better known to you as a common saying or turn of phrase. We’re talking about idioms that are so interwoven into our everyday speech, we hardly even know we’re using them when we do. Some examples that we covered last year are ‘Keep it Up’ and ‘Don’t Lose your Head’.

The one I have for us today has always sounded a little strange to me: ‘Caught with Egg on your Face’. It means that you’ve been proven wrong and made to look foolish. If your friend at summer camp said archery was the easiest sport in the world and then proceeded to miss the target entirely, you could say they really had egg on their face.  

While the exact origin is somewhat of a mystery, it’s likely to come from unfavorable receptions of criminals as well as poorly-produced shows on the stage. Back in the Middle Ages, English theater was a coarse and sometimes violent scene. If the play or show was particularly bad or a criminal was especially reviled, rotten eggs along with spoiled fruit and produce—the common trash of the time—were often hurled from the audience and directed at the faces of these criminals and bad actors.

It was a pretty harsh reaction. Stage performers these days are made to feel scorned by way of some simple booing through cupped hands and maybe a bad review. But rotten food projectile straight for someone’s face really drove the message home that they were unappreciated. Good thing for actors today that we’ve departed from this horrible way to show our disfavor.

Enjoy any live shows you may attend and be sure you leave the spoiled food and rotten eggs behind! As always, thanks for reading, Camp Folks! Till next time.


- John