Idiom Central


“An idiom is a phrase whose meaning cannot be determined by the literal definition of the phrase itself, but refers instead to a figurative meaning that is known only through common use. In linguistics, idioms are widely assumed to be figures of speech that contradict the principle of compositionality; however, this has shown to be a subject of debate.” - Wikipedia

In my Kiva preparation, I spent a lot of time focusing on my country placement, The Philippines and thinking about the Borrowers I was going to meet and the microfinance institution I would be working for as an institution, it somehow escaped me that the people at the MFI, Ahon sa Hirap, Inc. (ASHI) would be the people I see the most. I am responsible for auditing 10 branches and so I’m meeting lots of new people, but there are two constants, Ma’am Em and Sir Rexon (here you add ma’am and sir to everyone and use it when speaking to people). Em is the Kiva Coordinator for the Antique Province and Rexon for Rizal Province. I’m with one of them most days when I’m in those places and MANY things happen that make me say something that make them go, “huh?”

It’s been fun sharing with them “American” phrases to their otherwise perfect English and my ok (scrappy) Tagalog. I can explain what they mean but not the origin.

Can you help me?

Please leave a comment with the origin of the following 10 idioms and I’ll add it to the post.

  1. Raining cats and dogs.

  2. 10 pounds in a 5 pound bag.

  3. Fighting an uphill battle.

4.  Memory like an elephant.

  1. You can’t teach an old dog new tricks.

  2. Overcome a hurdle.

7.  All hands on deck.

  1. A leopard cannot change its spots.

9.  Don’t hold your breathe.

10.  A day late and a dollar short. _ While I’m at, what’s your favorite?_

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