Advertise on the Tentacle


| Guest Columnist | Harry M. Covert | Hayden Duke | Jason Miller | Ken Kellar | Patricia A. Kelly | Edward Lulie III | Cindy A. Rose | Richard B. Weldon Jr. | Brooke Winn |


Advertise on the Tentacle

February 29, 2016

Idiom Ills

Ken Kellar

I first took notice of abused idioms many years ago as I read a beer coaster at Busch Gardens. The coaster claimed that the term “lock, stock and barrel” originated from the ancient beer industry. Something about owning the keys to the business, the legal ownership documents and the beer barrels.


Having grown up shooting muzzle-loaded rifles, I knew the coaster contained complete rubbish.


When you start to disassemble a muzzle loader, you first usually pull out one wedge pin and you lift away the gun barrel. What you have left is a big piece of wood and a mechanical firing mechanism. That mechanism contains the trigger, the hammer, the spring and all the interlocking metal pieces. It is called the lock. Remove a screw or two and you can pull that out of the wood piece. What remains is a big piece of carved wood that is called the stock. So, the gun consists of the lock, stock and barrel. “Did you sell everything?” “Lock, stock and barrel!”


I was inspired to write this piece when I heard one of the multi-millionaire talking heads that bring us our news, say “… try a new tact.” Tact is a sense of decorum. Try a new sense of decorum? The proper word is “tack.” It’s a nautical term. When one changes course by turning through the direction from which the wind is blowing, it is called a tack. So, a new tack is a new course, or a new approach. So, one says: “This approach isn’t working, let’s try a new tack.”


“Let’s flush out the details.” Was that right?


Yes, if the details were hiding somewhere.


Game is flushed out of hiding. So, if there are some hidden people or information “flushing out” may be the proper term.


However, I often hear people use “flush” when they want to ad information or details to a plan. That is where we use “flesh.” It comes from the concept of adding flesh to the bones of a creature. “Fleshing out” adds meat to the bones, and it adds details to a plan. So, please flesh out the plan.


I better quit while I’m ahead, otherwise I might burn my bridges before they are hatched.



Yellow Cab
The Morning News Express with Bob Miller
The Covert Letter

Advertisers here do not necessarily agree or disagree with the opinions expressed by the individual columnist appearing on The Tentacle.

Each Article contained on this website is COPYRIGHTED by The Octopussm LLC. All rights reserved. No Part of this website and/or its contents may be reproduced or used in any form or by any means - graphic, electronic, or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, taping, or information storage and retrieval systems, without the expressed written permission of The Tentaclesm, and the individual authors. Pages may be printed for personal use, but may not be reproduced in any publication - electronic or printed - without the express written permission of The Tentaclesm; and the individual authors.

Site Developed & Hosted by The JaBITCo Group, Inc. For questions on site navigation or links please contact Webmaster.

The JaBITCo Group, Inc. is not responsible for any written articles or letters on this site.