Why do we say ‘wear your heart on your sleeve’ and other love-drenched expressions? 3 fun origin stories

May 15, 2024 | Latest News | 0 comments

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Popular metaphorical sayings in the English language often have a deep history and interesting background.

Sayings like “cat got your tongue” and “feeling under the weather” have grown in popularity over the decades to become the catchy phrases we use today. 

But where did they come from? What did they originally mean?

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Here are three popular expressions that all focus on the subject of love. 

Wearing “your heart on your sleeve” is often a phrase used when someone is an outwardly emotional person — whether that’s through words of affirmation, physical touch or another obvious love language.  

The first recorded use of the phrase, however, came from one of the most well-known writers in history: William Shakespeare. 

Shakespeare’s “Othello” reads, in part, “For when my outward action doth demonstrate, the native act and figure of my heart. In complement extern ‘tis no long after but I will wear my heart upon my sleeve,” according to Merriam-Webster. 

WHY DO WE SAY ‘UNDER THE WEATHER’ AND OTHER POPULAR EXPRESSIONS? HERE ARE 3 FUN ORIGIN STORIES

The writer is thought to have inserted this line due to the rich history of medieval jousts — in which those partaking wore sleeves to cover and protect their arms. 

These knights would typically wear a woman’s token around their sleeve of armor to signify their love, the same source noted.

The popular phrase referring to a traditional ballroom dance is often used to describe a scenario involving two people. 

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For example, this saying could be used when two people are to be blamed for an incident — suggesting it would not have happened without one or the other. 

The saying can also be used when describing a relationship, a marriage or a partnership. 

Although the origin of the saying is unconfirmed, the expression was popularized in the 1950s after American actress and singer Pearl Bailey recorded the song “Takes Two to Tango.”

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Bailey in part sang, “There are lots of things that you can do alone, but it takes two to tango.”

Speaking about something that comes “from the bottom of your heart” is typically referring to very sincere words. 

For something to come from the bottom of your heart means it’s even more important and truthful than usual. 

Many theorists believe the first known written instance of the saying came in Virgil’s poem “Aeneid,” written between 29 and 19 BC.

The Roman poet’s work detailed the story of “Rome’s legendary founder and proclaims the Roman mission to civilize the world under divine guidance,” as Britannica notes. 

For more Lifestyle articles, visit www.foxnews.com/lifestyle.

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