Monday, July 13, 2009


The term “jackpot” comes from the 5-card poker game in which someone has to have “jacks or better” to open. Everyone antes, the cards are dealt, and only someone with a pair of jacks or better can make the opening bet. If no one has it, the players throw the cards back, ante again, and the cards are dealt again.

In Jacks or better, the pots can get high. And when someone wins, they win the “jack-pot”. In the mid/late 1800’s, the term started moving into common usage.

“When I played pool, I was like a good psychiatrist; I cured ‘em of all their dreams and delusions.” – Minnesota Fats

“Cheap at half the price” seems like one of those sayings that got turned around over the years. It makes more sense to say cheap at twice the price. However, the saying makes sense when you understand what the word “cheap” meant. When this saying was originated “cheap” meant poor quality.

The expression therefore means that something is so poor of quality that even if it were half the price, it still wouldn’t be worth it.

“As soon as people see my face on a movie screen, they knew two things: first, I'm not going to get the girl, and second, I'll get a cheap funeral before the picture is over.” – Lee Marvin

Have you ever stuck something out “to the bitter end”. I used to think this referred to sticking with something no matter how bad the end might be.

Actually, this comes from a nautical term. The end of an anchor cable was called the bitter end (it was wrapped around posts called bitts). If the cable was let out to the bitter end, all the cable was out with none left.

So, sticking with something to the bitter end means going as far as you can go.

“If at first you don’t succeed, try try again. Then quit. There’s no use being a damn fool about it.” – W.C. Fields

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