What Am I Saying?

The Indian barque Tarangini passing under the ...
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We hear phrases all our lives and know what they mean in the context of what we’re trying to say but sometimes, the word or phrase by itself makes no sense at all.

So I’m writing along about something and say that the average consumer, by and large…wait: or is it by in large or buy in large? And it makes no sense either way. So what are these words coming out of my typing fingers? I intend to mean “in general” or “taken as a whole”, but…

I’ll just let you read for yourself, mateys. And hoist up the portajohn and hitch up the bosuns. It’s a sailing ships nautical term meaning toward (by) the wind abaft the beam (large) –according to the Free dictionary) but the story’s more interesting at The Phrase Finder .

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Fred First holds masters degrees in Vertebrate Zoology and physical therapy, and has been a biology teacher and physical therapist by profession. He moved to southwest Virginia in 1975 and to Floyd County in 1997. He maintains a daily photo-blog, broadcasts essays on the Roanoke NPR station, and contributes regular columns for the Floyd Press and Roanoke's Star Sentinel. His two non-fiction books, Slow Road Home and his recent What We Hold in Our Hands, celebrate the riches that we possess in our families and communities, our natural bounty, social capital and Appalachian cultures old and new. He has served on the Jacksonville Center Board of Directors and is newly active in the Sustain Floyd organization. He lives in northeastern Floyd County on the headwaters of the Roanoke River.

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  1. Everything I’ve touched this morning has broken. Don’t know why Zemanta images are not word-wrapping like they’re supposed to. I’d figure it out but have to fix everything else I’ve screwed up this morning–and it’s barely 5 o’clock yet. Low biorhythms I guess.

  2. Very interesting – so interesting that I subscribed to the weekly phrase explanation. This takes etymology one step up the ladder, no?