Last Christmas (or birthday, or major life event…I don’t remember) my Dad gave me a book Called “The facts on file: A dictionary of clichés”, by Christine Ammer. It’s a pretty cool book actually, it lists all the clichés you could ever think of and gives you the origin of the saying. Just from reading a couple of pages, I now know the origin behind sayings like “at one fell swoop” and “all things considered”, I even know how the saying ” ants in your pant’s” came to be. Ok you caught me..I only made it through the A’s. But I have picked out an interesting cliche – from the “C” section – to share. Enjoy!
“Cute as a button” – The word “cute” dates from the 17th century and was originally an abbreviation for “acute” . In america, it came to be applied to things that were small and dainty objects. A button is small and round, therefore it is “cute”. Cute as a button became popular when describing small children, animals or miniature versions of large items.
There ya have it – Next time you say “Cute as a button” you’ll know how it came to be so cliché.
To purchase this book (which is really only useful when you want to appear “highly intelligent” to someone who says “I wonder why we say that?” ) follow the link to Amazon! http://www.amazon.com/Facts-Dictionary-Clich%C3%A9s-Writers-Library/dp/0816043574