How often have we heard a water cliche or idiom that made us stop and wonder “what does that mean?” Though there are dozens of different water sayings and hundreds of ways to use them, today we’ll look at five sayings and their most common meanings.
When someone says “a drop in the ocean” or “a drop in the bucket,” it means a quantity too small to make any improvement, or too insignificant to matter. This phrase first appeared in English as part Wycliffe’s translation of the Bible.
When someone’s efforts “muddy the water,” they have made something less clear, made matters more confusing, or they have created difficulty where there was none before.
Alternately, when someone’s speech or actions muddy the waters, you could say they “have just one oar in the water” or “don’t have both oars in the water.” Either phrase means they are not thinking clearly, or that they are crazy. One oar is never as effective as two oars.
When someone is described as a “big drink of water,” that could mean one of two things (or both!). Either they’re a very tall person, or a very boring person. The boring interpretation likely originated due to the tastelessness of water, though we’re not sure where the correlation between height and a drink of water came from.
Finally “They could talk underwater.” Someone who could talk under water has a lot to say in any situation. They might possibly even muddy the waters, or have only one oar in the water, in addition to being a “big drink of water.”
Have some fun with these water cliches this weekend!