Top ten misquotes by Brits
– the nation that produced Shakespeare, Wordsworth and Stephen Fry – misquote given first


1) A damp squid (a damp squib)

            - a squib is a tiny explosive charge used to detonate larger charges


2) On tender hooks (on tenter hooks)

            - tenter from Latin “tendere” to stretch – hooks used to stop wet cloth shrinkage


3) Nip it in the butt (nip it in the bud)

            - stopping or “cutting” a problem when it's small (a bud) before it can grow


4) Champing at the bit (chomping at the bit)

            - actually both are now correct


5) A mute point (a moot point)

            - moot = “meet” assemble for judicial purposes; in law - an issue open to argument


6) One foul swoop (one fell swoop)

            - from “fall” a tree with one strike


7) All that glitters is not gold (all that glisters is not gold – Shakespeare)

            - ME glystre – sparkle, glitter – now commonly accepted “glitters”


8) Adverse to (averse to)

- “averse” – feelings against something


9) Batting down the hatches (batten down the hatches)

            - use “battens” strips of wood to secure


10) Find a penny pick it up (find a pin pick it up)

            Originally –

See a pin and pick it up, all day long you'll have good luck!

See a pin and let it lay, Bad luck you'll have all the day!



11) Put her on a pedal stool or pedastool (pedestal)

            pedestal – the bottom portion of a column

            Latin ped- foot stallo- seat, standing place