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If You Know 7/9 Of These English Phrase Origins, You're A Genius

Time to "bite the bullet" and test your knowledge.

Here is a list of commonly used English phrases. Can you guess what their origin is?

  1. Bite the bullet

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    Correct! 
    Wrong! 

    Correct answer: Doctors used to ask patients to bite down on a bullet to ease the pain of surgery.

  2. Butter someone
    up

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    Correct! 
    Wrong! 

    Correct answer: It was a custom in ancient India to seek favor with the gods by throwing butter at religious statues.

  3. Mad as a hatter

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    Correct! 
    Wrong! 

    Correct answer: Mad Hatter Disease, which came from the mercury used in hats and poisoned people.

  4. Turn a blind eye

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    Correct! 
    Wrong! 

    Correct answer: A British admiral was blind in one eye and didn't see a retreat signal, and led his men into battle anyway.

  5. Give someone the cold shoulder

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    Correct! 
    Wrong! 

    Correct answer: In England, people gave their guests cold meat so that they would leave.

  6. Read the
    riot act

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    Correct! 
    Wrong! 

    Correct answer: The Riot Act was enacted in 1714, and said that if 12 people were gathered and appeared unruly the police could ask them to disperse.

  7. Hit the hay

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    Correct! 
    Wrong! 

    Correct: People used to literally hit their beds to arrange the hay in their mattress.

  8. Go the whole
    nine yards

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    Correct! 
    Wrong! 

    Correct answer: During World War II, the fighter pilots were equipped with nine yards of ammunition.

  9. Piece of cake

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    Correct! 
    Wrong! 

    Correct answer: In the 1870s cakes were given out as competition prizes, so it was easy to get them.

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