"Stand rooted to the spot" and 7 more stubborn expressions, the origin of which will surprise you

Phraseology is a living source, allowing to show all the beauty and greatness of Russian speech. It is appropriate to use the phraseological combinations to give your story a figurativeness, brightness, and also to make an impression of a competent and masterly person who speaks the native language.

In order to express one's mood, attitude to an object, phenomenon, or another person, it is enough to use a catch phrase, however, sometimes its origin can be fairly surprising, or even shocking.

Reach the handle

The expression is used in the sense of reaching extreme poverty. In tsarist Russia, wealthy citizens during urban walks bought buns in the form of a ring with a small dough handle from street vendors. Such rolls, or pretzels, were taken on the street. The handle for holding the roll was not eaten, but given to the poor.

Stand rooted to the spot

Like the previous one, this idiom also originated from the method of punishment, execution, it means to stand still, to stand still. The researchers do not have a definite answer under which Russian monarch this sophisticated execution was invented, but the first mentions of it are dated by the time of Peter the Great I. It is noteworthy that it was applied only to women. Accused of manicuring, they were buried alive in a standing position, most often in the throat. The buried woman painfully died for several days, and the guard, specially set up next to her, ensured that no one served unhappy water or food. Passers-by were allowed to spit and throw stones and dirt at her.

Kisejnaya young lady

Using this expression, most people believe that it means a pampered and spoiled female person, but this interpretation of this phraseological unit is not entirely correct. Kisseynaya fabric short time was popular at the end of the XVIII century, but quickly went out of fashion due to impracticality. The young lady, who continues to wear a muslin outfit, caused ridicule and quickly turned into a symbol of unsuitability and even stupidity. This expression is usually used with an ironic, or even contempt.


Phraseological turnover refers to the victim, the person who is forced to bear responsibility for acts that he did not commit. This expression came from the religion of the ancient Jews, who had the custom of shifting sins onto a goat, after which the unfortunate animal was cast out. The barbarian rite has long ceased to exist, and the expression lives and is widely used.

Shabby look

This scornful expression appeared in the time of Peter I and has nothing to do with food intake. Zatrapeznikov is the name of a merchant who owned a manufactory for the production of coarse and cheap fabric. This fabric is popularly called shabby, and clothing made of it - shabby. Initially, this was said about people dressed poorly, but subsequently the meaning of the phraseological unit changed and meant slovenly dressed people.

Trump card

Despite the obvious reference to card terminology, the expression has nothing to do with gambling. Notable boyars wore over the gates of the caftan decorated with stones and embroidered gold trimmed top collar, which was called a trump card. The sparkling high trump card gave the owner a haughty and proud look, which is why this expression happened, meaning to step importantly, without dropping his eyes down and not noticing commoners.

Inside out

A harmless and even humorous expression means that something is not done properly or vice versa. However, it came from the punishment widespread under Tsar Ivan the Terrible, when a boyar or another notable citizen accused of petty crime was seated backward on a horse and carried to the whistle of the crowd. Pre clothing turned inside out.

Procrustean bed

This rather rare, but very figurative phraseologism has a mythological origin. The expression put on the Procrustean bed means violent acts committed to fit something, or someone under a rigid framework. For example, supporters of the bodipositive movement, criticizing the fashion industry for the unrealistic standards of beauty for many, suggest that they cannot be laid on the Procrustean fashion box. Procrustes, whose name was included in the phraseological unit, was a robber; he invented torture for the travelers he caught: a sadist put people on his bed and checked whether his bed suited them. If the traveler was below Procrustes and the bed was short for him, the poor fellow was pulled out of his legs, if above he was cut off.