Our other monthly feature returns after a brief hiatus.
Time to learn the origins of some of those catchy phrases you use or hear so often. I think you should have no problem “seeing” the theme for this week!
Love is blind – This was coined by Shakespeare and was quite a favorite line of his. It appears in several of his plays, including Two Gentlemen of Verona, Henry V and The Merchant Of Venice; for example, this piece from The Merchant Of Venice, 1596:
JESSICA: Here, catch this casket; it is worth the pains. I am glad ’tis night, you do not look on me, For I am much ashamed of my exchange: But love is blind and lovers cannot see The pretty follies that themselves commit; For if they could, Cupid himself would blush To see me thus transformed to a boy.
Modern-day research supports the view that the blindness of love is not just a figurative matter. A research study in 2004 by University College London found that feelings of love suppressed the activity of the areas of the brain that control critical thought.
Seeing eye to eye – When your eyes move, they both travel together. You can’t move one to the left and the other to the right, or have one look up while the other looks down. Indeed, your eyes are always in harmony with each other, whether you like it or not! Thus, if you’re ‘seeing eye to eye’ with someone, then you are in agreement with them.
There are more expressions that share similar meanings to this one, such as ‘being on the same page,’ but this phrase in particular is older than any of them, as it is a saying that’s used in the Bible.
An eye for an eye – The notion that for every wrong done there should be a compensating measure of justice. This is another fine quote you can read in the Bible, though the origin is ascribed to the Code of Hammurabi. Hammurabi was King of Babylon, 1792-1750BC. The code survives today in the Akkadian language.
For more scintillating origins of those catch-phrases you all know and (sometimes) love, check out the Out on a limb category on the right sidebar.