New idioms

Now on the Dictionary.com site, the posting “Are New Idioms Ever Created?”:

Many idioms—expressions that are not taken literally—are so old and so familiar that we don’t think twice about using them. We say, for example, “it’s raining cats and dogs” to indicate that it’s pouring outside, and “comfortable as an old shoe” to explain an easy and familiar relationship. We can trace the etymology of some idioms to books and sayings that were first used hundreds of years ago, while the origins of others are, frankly, mysterious.

We wondered, though, do we still coin new idioms? To find out, we asked linguists, people who study language.

Specifically, they asked me; Robin Lakoff (linguistics, UC Berkeley); and Suzanne Wagner (linguistics, Michigan State). Our answer was — wait for it! — YES.

 

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