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Why do we say ‘under the weather’ and other popular expressions? Here are 3 fun origin stories

Why do we use popular metaphorical expressions like "under the weather' and more? Here are three fun origin stories and meanings behind commonly used idioms in English.

Common sayings used metaphorically are popular in the English language — and are often used all over the world. 

There's "break a leg," "the cat’s out of the bag" — and so many others, often with interesting histories. 

Why do people use these popular expressions?

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Here’s a dive into three common sayings and their backgrounds.

This common expression is often used to ask someone what they're thinking if deep in thought. 

For example, someone might say, "I’ll take a penny for your thoughts."

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Although the exact origin of the saying is unclear, many attribute it to the 1500s when Sir Thomas More wrote "Four Last Things." 

It read, "When people notice that someone appears disengaged and wish them to rejoin the conversation, they ask, ‘A penny for your thoughts,’" per Missouri State University.

Other notions are that it came from a collection of proverbs by John Heywood in 1546, according to Dictionary online. 

WHY DO WE SAY ‘BREAK A LEG’ AND OTHER POPULAR EXPRESSIONS? HERE ARE 3 FUN ORIGIN STORIES

This expression is often used when someone is feeling ill.

People might say, for example, that they're "feeling under the weather" when coming down with a cold. 

This popular saying is thought to have a nautical origin, as crewmen and travelers would often go below deck when high winds caused the sea to get choppy, according to the Farmers Almanac. 

Another theory from "Salty Dog Talk: The Nautical Origins of Everyday Expressions" says the phrase came from "under the weather bow," which is the side of the ship that would often rot due to blowing weather. 

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This phrase is commonly used when people speak for the first time after a period of silence — as if they would "break the ice."

This could also refer to two people who have not spoken in a significant amount of time — and who need to "break the ice" and speak once again. 

Many believe the expression started as early as 1579 from Sir Thomas North’s "Plutarch’s Lives" translation. 

Samuel Butler also used it in his 1678 book "Hudibras" to mean it broke the silence. 

For more Lifestyle articles, visit www.foxnews.com/lifestyle.

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