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Tuesday, 19 September 2017

Idiom: On your high horse

Definition :   To be self-righteous, superior, or haughty.

Example: Brenda got on her high horse, and told the ladies how the cupcakes had to be presented for the bake sale, with her pink monstrosities taking centre stage.

Or alternatively


Definition : A command to stop acting superior.

Example: The rest of the ladies told Brenda to get off her high horse and threw her cupcakes away.


In medieval times, a large horse was more commonly referred to as a ‘high horse‘. They were bred for this quality, and the larger or ‘higher’ the horse, the more expensive. Consequently, the size of your horse was an indicator of your rank. So, the wealthy and the aristocratic were literally on ‘high horses‘, looking down upon the common folk.
This has fallen out of fashion in our petrol age, though some folks have substituted four wheel drive vehicles instead.

Monday, 18 September 2017

Idiom: A knight in shining armour

Definition: Somebody who comes to the aid of another, especially a man coming to a woman’s aid.

Example: Belinda’s knight in shining armour came in the form of a vending machine repairman. She’d had her arm caught in the machine for three hours. And she still hadn’t been able to reach that Mars bar.


A knight in shining armour (or armor if in the States) owes its existence to the romanticised ideals of Victorian painters, poets, and novelists. Tales of knights in gleaming suits of armour rescuing fair maidens from all manner of evil proved popular at the time, especially stories of Camelot and King Arthur. Everyone had a go. Le Morte d’Arthur was re-printed after an absence of centuries. Pre-Raphaelite painters like Edward Burne-Jones created images infused with light. Tennyson wrote romantic poetry about Arthur. Even Mark Twain visited the tale in a more satirical form with A Conneticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court.
The reality was entirely different. Suits of armour rarely gleamed unless they were royal showpieces. They rusted. Their occupants washed infrequently. In the sunshine, the temperatures soared inside the suit. As it took ages to put armour on, those same occupants could not afford the time to take them off for toilet related activities. You could probably smell the knight coming before you heard the ragged breathing of his overloaded horse.

Friday, 15 September 2017