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The use of common names in idiomatic expressions

The use of common names in idiomatic expressions

FACULTY OF HUMANITIES

DEPARTMENT OF ENGLISH PHILOLOGY

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

the use of common names in idiomatic expressions

Course Paper

 

 

 

 


The Student: xxxxxxxx

 

 

 

 

 

 

2009

Contents


Introduction

1. What is an idiom?

1.1 The meaning of idioms

1.2 The structure of idioms

1.3 The categories of idioms

2. Common names

2.1 Characteristic of Proper nouns

2.2 Place names

2.3 Personal names

3. Practical Chapter. The use of proper names in idioms

3.1 The methodology of the research

3.2 Idioms with personal names

3.3 Idioms with place names

4. Groups of personal names

4.1 Idioms with place names

Conclusions

References

Introduction

The theme of the paper is The use of common names in idiomatic expressions.

The subject of the present paper is based on the collecting common names from idiomatic expressions. The term common names refers to proper names. Proper names are names of persons, places or certain special things. In the English language proper names are typically capitalized nouns. They have a number of certain features as well they are not used in the plural and are not preceded by adjectives, articles, numerals, demonstratives, or other modifiers. There are some kinds of proper nouns:

        Place names.

        Personal names.

        Diacritics.

The aim of the work is to analyze the common names of English idioms, their types, features and structure. This paper will show the origins of the proper nouns used in idiomatic expressions.

The following objectives of the research have been set:

1.      To provide theoretical evidence and discuss on idiomatic English.

2.      To study English idiomatic dictionaries.

3.      To compare, analyze and classify idioms with personal and place names.

Research methods:

1.      Descriptive-theoretical literary analysis provided a possibility to review numerous issues concerning features of proper nouns.

2.      Contrastive linguistic analysis is also used in the work with the aim determining the frequency or intensity of common names usage in relation with idiomatic expressions.

Relevance of the work:

As noted by an increasing number of idiomatic scholars, it is clearly problematic to assume that idioms form a homogeneous class of linguistic items. Careful attention must be paid to the many syntactic, lexical, semantic and pragmatic differences that exist among words and phrases that are generally judged as idiomatic. The investigation of a wide range of idioms clearly demonstrates that many idioms are analyzable and have figurative meanings that are at least partly motivated. Many idioms have individual components that independently contribute to what these phrases figuratively mean as wholes.

The views and approaches such scholars as A. Makkai, M. Everaert, R. Moreno helped to analyze idiomatic English topic in more detailed way.

The structure of the work:

The paper consists of introduction, three chapters, conclusions, references and practical patterns.

A survey of theoretical issues necessary for the analysis is presented below.


1. What is an Idiom?


The ultimate roof of the term idiom is the Greek lexeme idioms, meaning own, private, peculiar (J. Strassel: 1982:13).

In different dictionaries there could be found quite a lot different explaining what an idiom is. There are some of the definitions:

1.      An idiom is an expression whose meaning is not predictable from the usual meanings of its constituent elements or from the general grammatical rules of a language and that is not a constituent of a larger expression of like characteristics (Random House Dictionary: 2009. #"javascript:OpenGlossary('idiom.html');">idiom is a phrase where the words together have a meaning that is different from the dictionary definitions of the individual words, which can make idioms hard for ESL students and learners to understand (Dictionary of English idioms and idiomatic expressions: www.usingenglish.com.reference/idioms).

According to Ifill T. (2002:78) idioms are as those that speaker cannot work out simply by knowing the grammar and the vocabulary of a language. According to J. Saeed (2003:60) idioms are words collocated together happen to become fossilized, becoming fixed over time. This is the reason why idioms are set out as non-compositional.

Idioms are used in a wide variety of contexts and situations. They are often used in spoken language, in situations that range from friendly conversations to business meetings. Idioms are used in written English as well, especially in journalism where writers frequently use them to bring their stories to life.

Knowing the meaning of idioms let understand the smallest refinements of the language. However, it is quite difficult to understand the exact meaning of the idiom of the foreign language because it is related with some kind of problems that are named in the further chapter.


1.1 The meaning of idioms


An idiom is a sequence of words which has a different meaning as a group from the meaning it would have if you understood each word separately. Idioms add color to the language, helping us to emphasize meaning and to make our observations, judgments and explanations lively and interesting. They are also very useful tools for communicating a great deal of meaning in just a few words.

Knowing whether an expression receives a literal meaning or an idiomatic meaning is important for natural language processing applications that require some sort of semantic interpretation.

Idioms are pervasive in all styles of language use. The problem they present to the theoretical and computational linguist is not the fact that their meaning cannot be worked out by the usual mechanisms, for if it were not for other factors this could be overcome by treating them as big lexical items to be looked up in a list in a fairly straightforward way.

Idiom is defined as expression that does not mean what it literally said. You cannot understand the meaning of whole idiom putting the meanings of each word from which consists idiom together. Put as simply as possible, an idiom is a fixed expression whose meaning cannot be taken as a combination of the meanings of its component parts. Thus, the common phrase kick the bucket has nothing to do with either kicking or buckets, but means simply, to die. Idiom has the meaning only as a unit and has lexical and grammatical stability as well. If you look at the individual words, it may not even make sense grammatically. According to M. Everaert (1995), an idiom is an institutionalized expression which overall meaning does not correspond to the combined meanings of its component parts. Many idioms are intuitively nontransparent: their meaning is hard to guess without a special context or previous exposure. In spite of that, very few idioms are fixed in forms. These features we will discussed in our following chapter.

1.2 The structure of Idioms


As it was said in our previous chapter, idioms are not mixed in form. One part of the phrase can be let out, for example, somebody has been around the block (a few minutes) can be said without the words a few times, although the meaning remains the same. This technique is also used for idioms which have become clichs and are therefore often shortened, such as you can lead a horse to water (but you cant make him drink). Some idioms can have any word inserted, depending on what the speaker is describing. For example, in the idiom the ____ of somebodys dreams the underline space indicates that the range of nouns, adjectives, etc which could be inserted is unlimited.

In addition to that, the main idiom can have several less popular versions. For example, sell like hot cakes (go like hot cakes). It shows that idioms are not frozen units. In internal structure of idioms there also could be found some changes. Let us begin with the most minimal way in which an idiom can be altered from its base form: morphology:

1.

a. I will take them to task for their indolence.

b. I am taking them to task for their indolence.

c. I took them to task for their indolence.

d. I have taken them to task for their indolence.

2.

a. George and Simon have their ups and downs.

b. George and Simon are having their ups and downs.

c. George and Simon had their ups and downs.

In these example sets, we will analyze the idioms take NP to task and have ones ups and downs to be the listed forms of the idioms in (1) and (2). These examples clearly show that the verb tense can be changed in the internal structure of the idiom. We can make a conclusion that those idioms which were classified as completely frozen exhibit this kind of behavior (trip the light fantastic vs. tripping the light fantastic vs. tripped the light fantastic) (M. Everaert: 1995:45).

It has been widely noted that the individual words in an idiom cannot be replaced by synonyms and still retain the idiomatic reading of the phrase. This is what qualifies them as fixed forms. In most non-idiomatic discourse, a speaker can use synonymy to create a new sentence with the same semantic meaning. That means that changing a word from the idiom with its synonym we will not get the synonymic idiom. In spite of that, idioms can be synonymous among themselves. For example:

John kicked the bucket.

John kicked the pail.

One thing that is readily noticeable about idioms is that many seem to resist undergoing transformations that similar non-idiomatic constructions can readily undergo while retaining the same sense. For example:

John kicked the bucket.

The bucket was kicked by John.

In spite of that sentence is transformed its meaning remains the same.

All these changes can be found in all categories of idioms.



1.3 The categories of Idioms

Idioms have been classified into several groups. Many idioms are derived from the names of body parts and bodily functions:

        cover one's back do something to protect yourself from criticism or future blame;

        blood, sweat, and tears great personal effort;

        in cold blood- without feeling;

        feel (something) in one's bones sense something, have an intuition about something.

Other big group is idioms derived from animals names:

        as weak as a kitten weak, sickly;

        hit the bulls-eye to reach the main point of something;

        dog-eat-dog ready or willing to fight and hurt others to get what one wants;

        monkey see, monkey do someone copies something that someone else does.

The third big group is idioms derived from food and preparing it:

        full of beans- to feel energetic, to be in high spirits;

        grist for the mill- something that can be used to bring advantage or profit;

        take the cake- to be the best or worst of something;

        cook (someone's) goose- to damage or ruin someone.

Those are three the most common groups of idioms in English language. All these idioms are based on daily life events. They have risen from daily routine, from following the animals behavior as well as the humans body reaction to different situations. They are often used in every days speech and they are quite intelligible.

Other idioms are quite rare in English language. For example, politics idioms:

        body politics A group of people organized under a single government or authority (national or regional);

        fifth columnist a member of a subversive organization who tries to help an enemy invade;

        on the stump politicians are campaigning for support and votes.

One rarer group is idioms based on crimes and police as well:

        behind bars to be in prison;

        new sheriff in town a new authority figure takes charge;

        after the fact- after something (a crime etc.) has occurred.

These expressions are quite difficult to understand. For example, idiom new sheriff in town could be understood as a fact that a town has really got a new sheriff.

The category with common names in idioms is not the smallest one but it is not the most common one. We could say with some exceptions.

For example, idioms are widely known and understandable as well as common used in English language. This category we will analyze in our work.

        Achilles heel a person's weak spot;

        Adams apple a bulge in the throat, mostly seen in men.

2. Common names


Common name a noun that is not normally preceded by an article or other limiting modifier, as any or some, and that is arbitrary used to denote a particular person, place, thing without regard to any descriptive meaning the word or phrase may have, as Lincoln, Beth Pittsburgh. (#"#">#"#">www.wikipedia.org)

          Adages: Murphys law ascribed to Edward A. Murphy who stated If there's more than one way to do a job, and one of those ways will end in disaster, then someone will do it that way. (www.wikipedia.org)

          Adjectives: parkinsonian James Parkinson (as in parkinsonian syndrome), Stalinist -Joseph Stalin. (www.wikipedia.org)

          Cartoon characters: Baby Face Finlayson, from The Beano comic Baby Face Nelson, Nero, Belgian comic character by Marc Sleen is named after the Roman emperor Nero. (www.wikipedia.org)

          Chemical elements: curium (Cm, 96) Pierre and Marrie Curie, promethium (Pm, 61) Prometheus, a Titan from Greek mythology. (www.wikipedia.org)

          Human anatomical parts: Achilles tendom Achilles, Greek mythological character, Adams apple Adam, Biblical character. (www.wikipedia.org)

          Ideologies: Leninism after Vladimir Lenin, Maoism after Mao Zedong. (www.wikipedia.org)

          Inventions: Braille Louis Braille, diesel engine Rudolph Diesel. (www.wikipedia.org)

          Mathematical theorems: Ptolemaios theorem (geometry), Atkinsons theorem (operator theory). (www.wikipedia.org)

          Prizes, awards and medals: Nobel Prize Albert Nobel, O. Henry Awards O. Henry. (www.wikipedia.org)


3. Practical Chapter. The use of proper names in idioms

3.1 The methodology of the Research

The aim of the research work is to analyze the use of proper names in English idioms and to identify origins of these names. Idioms were classified into two groups: with personal names and with place names. The definitions of the collocated idioms were presented as well and they were illustrated with examples. The scope of the work is 97 idioms which were selected from the following sources:

        Longman Idioms Dictionary (1999).

        www.dictionary.com.

        www.usingenglish.com.

The distribution of all taken examples is shown in figure No. 1.


Figure No.1 Kinds of idioms


Research methods employed in the work are as follow:

        Descriptive-theoretical literary analysis provided a possibility to review numerous issues concerning features of proper nouns.

        Statistical method was salutary for the processing of the results of the empirical part of the research.

The English language has quite a long list of idioms. Idioms with personal and place names among all the idioms are not the prevailing ones. To compare both idioms with personal and place names researched in our work we can draw a conclusion than idioms with personal names are used more frequently in the English language. In our sources we have found only 24 ones with place names and even 73 idioms with personal names, in percent style, accordingly 25 % and 75 %. For example:

        Be robbing Peter to pay Paul to take money from one part of a system or organization that needs it and use it for another part of the system or organization, so that you deal with one difficulty but still have problems. (Longman Idiom Dictionary:1999:261). Idiom with personal names.

        New York minute (USA) if something happens in a New York minute, it happens very fast. (www.usingenglish.com). Idiom with place name.


3.2 Idioms with personal names


We have analyzed 73 idioms with personal names and while analyzing the idiom we have noticed that they could be divided into groups according to their origins. We distinguished the following groups:

1.      Names derived from mythology.

2.      Names derived from religion.

3.      Names based on characters of the books, films, cartoons etc.

4.      Names derived from folk mythology.

5.      Names of the real persons.

6.      Others.

Results of this analysis are shown in figure 2.


Figure 2.Origin of personal names in idioms


According to the results we made conclusions that religion and mass media influence peoples language the most. Idioms with these names are quite popular and very often used in spoken language. For example, idioms based on religion characters:

1.      Raise Cain to complain a lot about something in an angry or noisy way because you are determined to get what you want (www.usingenglish.com).

2.      Put the fear of God into somebody to make someone feel frightened of doing something wrong by making them realize the bad things that could happen if they do it (Longman Idioms Dictionary: 1999:139).

3.      Adam's apple the Adam's apple is a bulge in the throat, mostly seen in men (www.usingenglish.com).

Let us see the origin of the name Cain this person was the first murderer according to scriptural accounts in the Bible Genesis 4 and in the Qur'an 5:27-32. The biblical account, from the King James' Version, tells us how Cain and Abel, the two sons of Adam and Eve, bring offerings to God, but only Abel's is accepted. Cain kills Abel in anger and is cursed by God (! .).

The next big group is idioms with personal names which are taken from famous books, songs, cartoons. For example:

1.      Rip van Winkle Rip van Winkle is a character in a story that slept for twenty years, so if someone is a Rip van Winkle, they are behind the times and out of touch with what is happening now (www.usingenglish.com).

2.      Mickey Mouse something that is intellectually trivial or not of a very high standard (www.usingenglish.com).

3.      Live a life of Riley used in order to say that someone has a very comfortable, easy life without having to work hard or worry about money (Longman Idioms Dictionary: 1999:210).

Let us look at the origin of the name Riley this phrase originated in a popular song of the 1880s, Is That Mr. Reilly? by Pat Rooney, which described, what its hero would do if he suddenly came into a fortune (#"#" title="Lord Salisbury">Lord Salisbury decided to appoint a certain Arthur Balfour to the prestigious and sensitive post of Chief Secretary for Ireland. Not lost on the British public was the fact that Lord Salisbury just happened to be better known to Arthur Balfour as Uncle Bob. In the resulting furor over what was seen as an act of blatant nepotism, Bob's your uncle became a popular sarcastic comment applied to any situation where the outcome was preordained by favoritism (#"#">Achilles' heel a weakness of someones character that causes them problems, or the weak part of a place, system, argument where it can easily be attacked or criticized (www.usingenglish.com).

2.      Midas touch the ability to earn money very easily (www.usingenglish.com).

3.      A sword of Damocles something bad that may affect your situation at any time and make it much worse (Longman Idioms Dictionary: 1999:335).

All these persons are well-known from Greek mythology. The death of Achilles was not mentioned in Homers Iliad, but appeared in later Greek and Roman poetry and drama concerning events after the Iliad, later in the Trojan War. According to a myth arising later, his mother, Thetis, had dipped the infant Achilles in the river Styx, holding onto him by his heel, and he became invulnerable where the waters touched him -- that is, everywhere but the areas covered by her thumb and forefinger implying that only a heel wound could have been his downfall.


3.3 Idioms with place names


Analyzing the idioms with proper names we have found 23 idioms with place names. That is 25 % of all researched idioms. We have discovered that all the place names mentioned in idioms were real. In spite of that some of them were mentioned in the Bible, for example, Road to Damascus if someone has a great and sudden change in their ideas or beliefs, then this is a road to Damascus change, after the conversion of Saint Paul to Christianity while heading to Damascus to persecute Christians, place Damascus is real. The most common place name used in idioms is Rome. For example:

        All roads lead to Rome This means that there can be many different ways of doing something (www.usingenglish.com).

        Fiddle while Rome burns used when you disapprove because someone is spending too much time or attention on unimportant matters instead of trying to solve bigger and more important problems (Longman Idioms Dictionary: 1999:288).

        Rome was not built in a day this idiom means that many things cannot be done instantly, and require time and patience (www.usingenglish.com).

Idioms with personal names are more frequently used than idioms with place names.

4. Groups of the personal names


In our research we have distinguished 6 main groups of the origin of the personal names used in idioms. The distinguished groups are the following ones:

Names derived from mythology:

1.     A sword of Damocles something bad that may affect your situation at any time and make it much worse (Longman Idioms Dictionary: 1999:335).

2.     A Pyrrich victory used about a situation in which you are successful, but you suffer so much that it was not worth winning(Longman Idioms Dictionary:1999:368).

3.     Achilles' heel a weakness of someones character that causes them problems, or the weak part of a place, system, argument where it can easily be attacked or criticized (www.usingengllish.com).

4.     Before you can say Jack Robinson used in order to say that something happens very quickly (www.usingenglish.com).

5.     Between Scylla and Charybdis in a situation in which there two possible choices or actions both of which are equally bad (Longman Idioms Dictionary: 1999:297).

6.     Cut the Gordian cut to solve a very complex problem in a simple way (www.dictionary.com).

7.     Davey Jones' locker Davey Jones' locker is the bottom of the sea or resting place of drowned sailors (www.usingenglish.com).

8.     Midas touch the ability to earn money very easily (www.usingenglish.com).

9.     Pandora's box If you open a Pandora's Box, something you do causes all sorts of trouble that you hadn't anticipated (www.dictionary.com).

10.Peeping Tom A peeping Tom is someone who tries to look through other people's windows without being seen in order to spy on people in their homes (www.usingenglish.com).

Names derived from religion:

1.     Not know somebody from Adam used in order to say that you do not know someone at all, or have never seen them before (Longman Idioms Dictionary: 1999:2).

2.      Adam's apple the Adam's apple is a bulge in the throat, mostly seen in men (www.usingenglish.com).

3.      Be hand of God very good luck, or a bit of cheating that helps someone to succeed, especially in a game of football (www.dictionary.com).

4.      For Pete's sake this is used as an exclamation to show exasperation or irritation (www.usingenglish.com).

5.      God willing and the creek dont rise a humorous expression used in order to say that you hope you will not have problems doing something (Longman Idioms Dictionary: 1999:139).

6.      Gods gift to if someone thinks they are Gods gift to a group of people or an activity, they behave in an annoying way that shows they think they are more important to that group or activity than they really are (Longman Idioms Dictionary: 1999:139).

7.      Is Saul also among the prophets? It's a biblical idiom used when somebody known for something bad appears all of a sudden to be doing something very good (www.usingenglish.com).

8.      Jumping Judas! An expression of surprise or shock (www.usingenglish.com).

9.      Mohammed must go to the mountain used in order to say that if someone you want to see, especially someone important, will not or can not come to you, you have to make effort to see them, even if it is difficult (Longman Idioms Dictionary: 1999:236).

10. Painted Jezebel a scheming woman (www.usingenglish.com).

11. Patience of Job If something requires the patience of Job, it requires great patience (www.dictionary.com).

12. Put the fear of God into somebody to make someone feel frightened of doing something wrong by making them realize the bad things that could happen if they do (www.dictionary.com).

13. Raise Cain to complain a lot about something in an angry or noisy way because are determined to get what you want (www.usingenglish.com).

14. So help me God used in order to emphasize that you really mean what you are saying or promising (Longman Idioms Dictionary: 1999:139).

15. Work all the hours God sends used in order to say that someone spends all their time working very hard (Longman Idioms Dictionary: 1999:139).

Names derived from real persons:

1.     50 million Elvis fans cant be wrong used to say that something must be true because so many people think so (Longman Idioms Dictionary: 1999:103).

2.     Bobs your uncle said after you tell someone how to do something, in order to emphasize that it will be simple and will definitely achieve the result they want (Longman Idioms Dictionary: 1999:33).

3.     Freudian Slip if someone makes a Freudian slip, they accidentally use the wrong word, but in doing so reveal what they are really thinking rather than what they think the other person wants to hear (www.usingenglish.com).

4.     Happy as Larry very happy (www.dictionary.com).

5.     Heath Robinson used to say about a system, machine etc that does something ordinary in a way that is very complicated and not at all practical (www.dictioanry.com).

6.     Hobson's choice a situation in which there is only one thing you can possibly do, unless you do nothing (www.usingenglish.com).

7.     In like Flynn refers to Errol Flynn's popularity with women in the 40's. His ability to attract women was well known throughout the world (www.usingenglish.com).

8.     Look a right Charlie to look very strange or stupid, so that people laugh at you, or feel that people are going to laugh at you (www.dictionary.com).

9.     Murphys law used to say that the worst possible thing always seems to happen at a time when it is most annoying, preventing you from doing what you are trying to do (Longman Idioms Dictioanry:1999:58).

10.Real McCoy used in order to say that something is real, and not a copy. (www.usingenglish.com).

11.Rich as Croesus very rich (www.usingenglish.com).

12.Rube Goldberg used about a system, machine etc that does something ordinary in a way that is very complicated and not at all practical (Longman Idioms Dictionary: 1999:291).

13.Smart Alec A smart Alec is a conceited person who likes to show off how clever and knowledgeable they are (www.usingenglish.com).

Names derived from folk etymology:

1.     Any Tom, Dick or Harry an expression meaning everyone, used especially when you disapprove because there is no limit on who can do a particular activity (www.usingenglish.com).

2.      Be robbing Peter to pay Paul to take money from one part of a system or organization that needs it and use it for another part of the system or organization, so that you deal with one difficulty but still have problems (Longman Idioms Dictionary: 1999:261).

3.     Benjamin of the family the Benjamin of the family is the youngest child (www.usingenglish.com). .

4.      For the love of Pete usually used in exasperation, as in 'Oh, for the love of Pete!' (www.usingenglish.com).

5.      Great Scott an exclamation of surprise (www.usingenglish.com).

6.      Home, James (UK) this is a clichd way of telling the driver of a vehicle to start driving (www.usingenglish.com). .

7.      Jack-of-all-trades -trades is someone that can do many different jobs (www.usingenglish.com).

8.      Jane Doe Jane Doe is a name given to an unidentified female who may be party to legal proceedings, or to an unidentified person in hospital, or dead. John Doe is the male equivalent (www.usingenglish.com).

9.      Joe Bloggs a name used to represent all ordinary people and their thoughts, feelings and situation (www.dictionary.com)

10.Johnny on the spot A person who is always available; ready, willing, and able to do what needs to be done (www.usingenglish.com). .

11. Uncle Sam the government of the USA (www.usingenglish.com).

Names based on characters of the books, films, cartoons:

1.      An Aladdins cave of something a place where a lot of particular type of thing can be found, especially something interesting or unusual (Longman Idioms Dictionary: 1999:56).

2.      Aunt Sally used about someone or something that is often blamed or criticized by a particular group of people, even when there is no reason (Longman Idioms Dictionary: 1999:10).

3.      Be like Darby and Joan used to talk about old husband and wife who live very happily together (Longman Idioms Dictionary: 1999:78).

4.      Brahms and Liszt drunk (Longman Idioms Dictionary: 1999:40).

5.      Do a Lord Lucan (UK) if someone disappears without a trace or runs off (Lord Lucan disappeared after a murder) (www.usingenglish.com).

6.      Even Stevens if everything is equal between people, they are even Stevens (www.usingenglish.com).

7.      Im all right Jack used in order to show disapproval when someones attitude shows that they do not care about a problem that other people are having, because it does not affect them (www.dictionary.com).

8.      Jekyll and Hyde used about someone who has two totally different parts to their character, one very good and the other bad (www.usingenglish.com).

9.     Keep up with Joneses to try to have all the things that your friends and neighbors have, and do all the things that they do (www.dictionary.com).

10. Live a life of Riley used in order to say that someone has a very comfortable, easy life without having to work hard or worry about money (Longman Idioms Dictionary: 1999:210).

11. Mickey Mouse something that is intellectually trivial or not of a very high standard (www.usingenglish.com).

12. Rip van Winkle Rip van Winkle is a character in a story who slept for twenty years, so if someone is a Rip van Winkle, they are behind the times and out of touch with what's happening now (www.usingenglish.com).

13. Smile like a Cheshire cat to have a big smile on your face, so that you look silly or too pleased with yourself (www.dictionary.com)

14. Take the Mickey to you tease someone (www.usingenglish.com).

15. Vicar of Bray (UK) A person who changes their beliefs and principles to stay popular with people above them (www.usingenglish.com).

Other names:

1.     A doubting Thomas used about someone who does not believe that something is true, or says that it has not been proved to them (Longman Idioms Dictionary: 1999:347).

2.     Barkus is willing this idiom means that someone is willing to get married (www.usingenglish.com).

3.     Be whistling Dixie to be saying that something is untrue (www.dictionary.com)

4.     Buggles' turn when someone gets promotion through length of service rather than ability, especially in the British civil service (www.usingenglish.com).

5.     Clever Dick used about someone who is annoying because they are always right or always think they are right (www.dictionary.com).

6.     Going Jesse (USA) if something is a going Jesse, it's a viable, successful project or enterprise (www.usingenglish.com).

7.     Jack the Lad A confident and not very serious young man who behaves as he wants to without thinking about other people is a Jack the Lad (www. usingenglish.com).

8.     John Q Public (USA) John Q Public is the typical, average person (www.usingenglish.com).

9.     Nervous Nellie Someone excessively worried or apprehensive is a nervous Nellie (or Nelly) (www.usingenglish.com).

10.Not known whether you are Arthur or Martha-to feel very confused, especially because you have too much to do (www.dictionary.com).

4.1 Idioms with place names

1.     All roads lead to Rome This means that there can be many different ways of doing something (www.usingenglish.com).

2.     Big Easy (USA) The Big Easy is New Orleans, Louisiana (www. usingenglish.com).

3.     Coals to Newcastle (UK) Taking, bringing, or carrying coals to Newcastle is doing something that is completely unnecessary (www.usingenglish.com).

4.     Crossing the Rubicon When you are crossing the Rubicon, you are passing a point of no return. After you do this thing, there is no way of turning around. The only way left is forward (www.usingenglish.com).

5.     Dunkirk spirit (UK) Dunkirk spirit is when people pull together to get through a very difficult time (www.dictionary.com).

6.     Fiddle while Rome burns used when you disapprove because someone is spending too much time or attention on unimportant matters instead of trying to solve bigger and more important problems (Longman Idioms Dictionary: 1999:288).

7.     From Missouri (USA) If someone is from Missouri, then they require clear proof before they will believe something (www.usingenglish.com).

8.     Himalayan blunder a Himalayan blunder is a very serious mistake or error (www.usingenglish.com).

9.     Lie back and think of England a humorous expression used when someone has sex without wanting it or enjoying it, and often used when someone has to do another activity or job that they do not want to (Longman Idioms Dictionary:1999:106).

10.Man on the Clapham omnibus (UK) The man on the Clapham omnibus is the ordinary person in the street (www.usingenglish.com).

11.More front than Brighton (UK) If you have more front than Brighton, you are very self-confident, possibly excessively so (www.usingenglish.com).

12.New York minute (USA) If something happens in a New York minute, it happens very fast (www.usingenglish.com).

13.Not for all tea in China used in order to emphasize that you do not want to do something, and no reward would be big enough to make you to do i (Longman Idioms Dictionary: 1999:340).

14.On Carey Street (UK) If someone is on Carey Street, they are heavily in debt or have gone bankrupt (www.usingenglish.com).

15.Road to Damascus If someone has a great and sudden change in their ideas or beliefs, then this is a road to Damascus change, after the conversion of Saint Paul to Christianity while heading to Damascus to persecute Christians (www.usingenglish.com).

16.Rome was not built in a day This idiom means that many things cannot be done instantly, and require time and patience (www.usingenglish.com).

17.Saigon moment (USA) A Saigon moment is when people realize that something has gone wrong and that they will lose or fail (www.usingenglish.com).

18.Somebody met his/her Waterloo used in order to say that someone has finally met a person or thing that can defeat them (Longman Idioms Dictionary: 1999:373).

19.Send someone to Coventry (UK) If you send someone to Coventry, you refuse to talk to them or co-operate with them (www.usingenglish.com).

20.Set the Thames on fire If you do something remarkable, you set the Thames on fire, though this expression is used in the negative; someone who is dull or undistinguished will never set the Thames on fire (www.usingenglish.com).

21.Shipshape and Bristol fashion If things are shipshape and Bristol fashion, they are in perfect working order (www.dictionary.com).

22.The black hole of Calcutta used about a place that is very dark and very hot and too full of people or things (www.dictionary.com).

23.When in Rome, do as the Romans do This idiom means that when you are visiting a different place or culture, you should try to follow their customs and practices (www.usingenglish.com).

24._____ for England a humorous way of saying that someone does a lot or too much of a particular activity (Longman Idioms Dictionary: 1999:106).

Conclusions


The analyses presented in this study are an answer that proper names are quite often used in English idioms. We have analyzed 97 idioms: 73 with personal names and 24 with place names. The origin of personal and place names in English idioms are of different types. In spite of this we identified the following six groups of the origin of personal names:

        Mythical

        Derived from religion

        Based on characters of the films, books, cartoons.

        The real persons.

        Folk etymology.

        Others.

The analysis showed that idioms with personal names are used in English language more frequently that idioms with place names.

Almost all the place names are authentic, not made-up. Among personal names the most frequent were names derived from religion and characters of books, films etc. Number of idioms with personal names that derived from mythology was the smallest one.


References

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2. Everaert M. (1995). Idioms. Structural and psychological perspectives. Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

3. Ifill T. (2002) Seeking the Nature of Idioms: A Study in Idiomatic Structure. Haverford College.

4. Locke J. (1869) An Essay Concerning Humane Understanding.

5. Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English (2003).

6. Longman idioms dictionary (1999). Longman.

7. Makkai, A. (1972). Idiom Structure in English. The Hague: Mouton.

8. Mill J. S. (1843) A System of Logic.

9. Moreno R. Relevance Theory and the construction of idiom meaning (! .)

10. Oxford Talking Dictionary.

11. Pulman S. (1986) The recognition and interpretation of idioms. University of Cambridge Computer Laboratory.

12. Saeed, J. I. (2003), Semantics. Oxford: Blackwell.

13. Strssler J. (1982). Idioms in English a pragmatic analysis. Gunter Narr Verlag.

14. Valeika L. (2003) Introductory course in theoretical English grammar. Vilnius pedagogical university.

15. #"#">#"#">#"#">#"#">#"#">#"#">#"#">#"#">#"#">#"#">#"#">http://www.worldwidewords.org/qa/qa-bob1.htm



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