We use many phrases that have more than one meaning throughout our lives. However, you may not know that many of these idioms originated from historical events despite now being commonly used in many aspects of our lives.
Let us demonstrate. Have you ever heard someone be accused of ‘resting on their laurels’ and wondered where that saying came from?
It came from victorious athletes at the Pythian Games of ancient Greece for those interested. The winners received wreaths made of laurel branches, so they could bask in the glory of their achievements by resting on them, but only since the 1800s has the phrase been used negatively. However, it shows the influence that games can have on every day, and even now, it’s something that happens with regularity right under our noses.
You may not be aware, but many modern-day sayings come straight from the poker table. So we’ve compiled our list of the best and show you how they came about to raise our vocabulary to new levels.
We’ve heard of someone playing the trump card, and the word itself comes from an ancient card game from the 15th century called Trionfi. Its name comes from the Latin word triumphus, meaning triumph or victory. So, taking it literally, if you have the card that swings the game in your favor in poker, you have the trump card. In everyday life, it’s more used in a metaphorical sense, meaning you have something that others didn’t know about that gives you an advantage over them in a particular situation.
This phrase is widely used in common parlance when you head to an event or show, and the venue is packed with spectators. It’s not often to see articles written concerning a sell-out event in anticipation of something such as, a sports event. The saying came from the casino floor, where a full house in poker is where the player has three of a kind and a pair. It was the first hand that used all five cards in the game without a kicker.
When someone appears to the example set by someone else, you will likely have heard the phrase they have ‘followed suit.’ The common use has a general meaning rather than a literal one that was the case when players used the phrase around the poker table. Initially, when it was said someone had followed suit, it meant that someone had played a card of the same suit as the player before them.
To deal/be dealt a bad hand
If someone is dealt a bad hand during a game, it means that the cards they have in front of them give them no chance of winning the game, no matter which order they are in. However, when used in language, if someone is dealt a bad hand, it refers to situations that are seen as unfair, and the person in question is someone who is stuck in a circumstance in which it feels like they have no control over.
To shuffle the decks
You don’t have to think about what this means too much when playing cards. The dealer shuffles the cards before each new card game, which is standard practice. However, when the phrase is used in everyday language, it’s used to describe that something which is already established is to be reorganized. One of the most prominent uses of the phrase comes in industry when, for example, a new executive is appointed to a company to change things around.
So as you can see, there are lots of commonly known phrases that originated from the popular card game of poker. So maybe you’ll drop a few in to give a subtle hint when you’re applying for your next role to avoid you from getting lost in the shuffle.