Show your true colors but don’t be fake – how many famous sayings do you know the meaning of?

Have you ever wondered where a famous phrase comes from?

The Sun reported this week how “Bluetooth” derives its name from Harald Bluetooth, a Norse king from the year 900 whose ability to communicate united warring factions in Norway and Denmark.

Try this fun quiz to see if you can guess the stories behind famous sayings


Try this fun quiz to see if you can guess the stories behind famous sayings

He got his name because he ate so many blueberries that his teeth turned blue.

And this fun tidbit isn’t the only idiom to come from an unlikely source.

Try this fun quiz by Kirsten Jones to see if you can guess the stories behind famous sayings. answers below.

1. Giving the cold shoulder: Being intentionally unkind to someone

A. In the 17th century, soldiers applied ice to their shoulders after firing muskets
B. Henry VIII’s toilet attendants draped handkerchiefs over their shoulders to protect his modesty
C. Medieval hosts distributed cold shoulders of pork to entice guests to leave

2. Bury the Hatchet: End a conflict

A. During Native American negotiations, weapons were buried so that they could not be used
B. In the Middle Ages, soldiers would swing their axes so hard that the blade stuck in a victim’s head
C. Upper class women stowed hats at the bottom of their luggage to avoid thieves

3. BREAK A BEIN: Good luck

A. If a man was too small for his horse, doctors would break his legs in the hope that this would make them longer
B. Roman gladiators with weak legs were sacrificed first, giving hope to others
C. People believed that happiness would attract evil spirits, so they wished for broken legs to stay safe

4. Blind one eye: Pretend you don’t notice

A. War spies cut eyeholes in newspapers to trap enemy agents
B. The naval hero Horatio Nelson used his blind eye to ignore orders and win the Battle of Copenhagen
C. Pirates wore eye patches to protect their eyesight from shrapnel in battle

5. Cold Feet: Too afraid to do something you set your mind to

A. Warriors with frozen feet could not charge into battle
B. Sailors caught stealing food had to hang their feet overboard as punishment
C. The ancient Egyptians put their feet in cold water before going to sleep to purify their soul

6. GET FIRE: Get fired from your job

A. Naughty children were forced to wear a sack on their heads in class
B. Bosses handed sacks of tools to unwanted tradesmen before they left the company
C. Bags have been used in hospitals during flu outbreaks when there are no beds

7. BUMP SOMEONE: Flatter someone into getting their help or support

A. The home side rewarded butter machines with free cheese
B. People in ancient India threw balls of butter at sacred statues to request favors
C. Before the invention of soap, people believed that bathing in butter kept the skin clean

8. SHOW TRUTH: To reveal a person’s true character

A. Warships used multiple flags to confuse enemies and only showed their “true colors” before firing
B. In folk tales it has been said that a fairy is good or evil based on the color of her trail of dust
C. When Vlad the Impaler died in December 1476, the sky turned steel gray for seven days and seven nights

9. Barking up the wrong tree: Pursuing a misguided thought

A. On May 1st, in the 18th century, little girls received a gift that they had to hide in the branches of a local apple tree
B. Hounds continued to bark at a tree even after their prey had been captured
C. In ancient Greece, servants were flogged for tying their master’s horses to a scion considered unlucky

10. Bite the bullet: Do something difficult that you’ve put off

A. During battlefield surgeries, patients have had to bite bullets to distract themselves from the pain
B. When haggling for ammunition during the Russian Revolution, buyers held bullets in their teeth to check value
C. To pass the time in the French Revolution, soldiers tried how much pressure could be applied to live ammunition before it exploded


C; 2. A; 3.C; 4. B; 5. A; 6.B; 7.B; 8. A; 9. B; 10A


PaulLeBlanc is a Dailynationtoday U.S. News Reporter based in London. His focus is on U.S. politics and the environment. He has covered climate change extensively, as well as healthcare and crime. PaulLeBlanc joined Dailynationtoday in 2021 from the Daily Express and previously worked for Chemist and Druggist and the Jewish Chronicle. He is a graduate of Cambridge University. Languages: English. You can get in touch with me by emailing:

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