What Does it Really Mean?

As children we all sang about The Farmer in the Dell (a dell is a V shaped Valley).  It was an 18th century nursery rhyme about the natural progression of life in the day.  From farmer to husband to father, etc.  But does it still have the same meaning?  In this day and age the family farm has all but disappeared and large corporations have taken over as commercial growers to the world.  Thus, The Farmer in the Dell can be described as a consortium of agricultural enterprises, organized as a Delaware Limited Partnership (the Dell)  for tax and depreciation purposes.

We decided to take a look at other popular phrases, what they use to mean and what their meaning has evolved into:


The Saying Used to Mean Now Means
A Little Hair of the Dog       A hangover remedy and in ancient times, when bitten by a dog, you rubbed the dogs hair into the wound as a cure. Where did Donald Trump get that piece?
Barking up the Wrong Tree Communicating with the wrong person. What’s up with your phone?  You need to upgrade your cell plan to 4-G!
The Straw that Broke the Camel’s Back The final bite needed to tilt the balance over the edge. What do you mean my health insurance doesn’t cover chiropractic.
Don’t Beat a Dead Horse The beating refers to the overusing of the “dead horse”. Said horse is a metaphor for a joke, and the fact that it’s no longer living implies that it’s no longer funny. A new baseball season will begin soon.  Yes, the Yankees choked last fall.  Bobby Valentine is no longer with the Red Sox.  Let’s move on.
Never Look a Gift Horse In the Mouth To be critical of a present or gift. My accountant says I can be “gifted” $13,000 with no tax consequence.
You Can’t Teach an Old Dog New Tricks As you age, it becomes difficult to learn new patterns of behavior. Republicans and Democrats will never work together (no matter how many times they utter the word “bi-partisanship”.
When the Cats Away The Mice will Play An extended period of time in which the boss is absent and thus providing employee’s an untethered opportunity for self-supervision I just set the company record on Angry Birds!  I think my computer need a new mouse.  (ok, maybe this one hasn’t changed much)
Every Dog has his Day Even the lowest and unluckiest among us will one day have their glory. Invest heavily in lottery tickets.
He that lies with dogs comes up with fleas. An association with a person of question will have adverse consequence. Always consider spending more than $39 for a motel room