Origins of Sayings – Extra Credit

Jack of All Trades
The meaning of the saying Jack of all trades is about someone having skills in multiple areas. The name Jack is based on the name John, which used to mean the common man. Originally, “of all trades” was to mean that someone was able to do multiple jobs, which is how certain jobs contained the name Jack in it, such as Lumberjack. The saying dates back to the 14th century, but as time has gone by it has changed context. However since the 16th century the saying meant that someone was stretching themselves too thin.


When the Rubber Hits the Road
The meaning of the saying is about when something is going to get serious. It refers to a car’s wheels hitting the road. The saying originated during the 20th century. It was first cited in “Mt. Vernon Register News” in which it was meant to describe getting serious. It is interesting to note that the word hits can be replaced with the word meets.


A Chip on Your Shoulder
The phrase refers to someone holding a grudge and started in the 19th century. The word chip refers to a piece of wood that someone would carry on his or her shoulder. Back then, people used to place a piece of wood on their shoulder to signify that they were angry and ready to fight, and then would threaten someone to knock it off their shoulder. The beginning of the phrase started in the “Long Island Telegraph”, in which an article referred to a fight actually occurring and it was later interpreted into a saying.




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