Perspectus Global, a PR and media research firm, just released the results of a shocking new survey that places several British idioms on the endangered phrase list. "Language changes – and some phrases are lost to history," the company wrote. "Our latest Perspectus Global survey delved into the traditional sayings that are falling by the wayside."
The company spoke with 2000 Brits under the age of 50 about their familiarity with certain phrases — and 71 percent of those people had never heard the phrase "colder than a witch's tit." Truly, this would be a catastrophic cultural loss to the English-speaking world. Perhaps worse is that 70 percent of respondents had never used the traditional British parting words of "Pip pip."
What ever shall be done about this poor and dwindling heritage?!
Here are a few other notably endangered British phrases, along with the percentage of respondents who were unfamiliar with them:
A fly in the ointment (59%)
A flash in the pan (57%)
Knickers in a twist (56%)
Dead as a doornail (55%)
Flogging a dead horse (54%)
Toe the line (54%)
Drop them a line (53%)
Steal my thunder (53%)
Be there or be square (52%)
Put a sock in it (52%)
Raining cats and dogs (51%)
Selling like hot cakes (49%)
Pardon my French (48%)
Think of all the poor English-speaking children who will never get to use these phrases! Alas!
How the latest Perspectus Global consumer research study revealed the traditional British sayings are heading to the knacker's yard – and why the media loved it. [Perspectus Global]
British sayings such as 'colder than a witch's tit' at risk of dying out [Bill McLoughlin / Evening Standard]
Image: Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons