Friday, April 13, 2007

Wigs on the green

Last night I listened to a talk from a woman in my master's degree cohort. At some point in her story about her job, she was quoting a phrase one of her colleagues said to another. The phrase was "You don't believe that fat meat is greasy." Apparently, it means that one does not believe the obvious unless it is observed first hand. After the talk, the professor brought up the phrase and asked who had heard it before. All the black people in the class had, and but none of the white students. She used the example to start a dialogue about how the differences in people's backgrounds influences how they're able to communicate.

This incident started me thinking about the subject, and I came up with several odd ethnic phrases that were thrown around in my home while growing up that certainly people living down the street but who were not of our heritage would never understand. One such phrase was "There'll be wigs on the green." Usually, it was used as "Sure enough, there'll be wigs on the green this day." This meant that a conflict or fight was the certain outcome of a situation.

So I thought to ask my readers, "Reader, what strange cultural phrase is used in your home?" I'm not looking for extreme examples of Yiddish insults or something, but really a phrase that was used regularly in your home that would probably not be understood by people outside your community. Please comment, and tell us what it means and the etymology if you know it.
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