50 endangered sayings showing a sign of the times

Apparently, dozens of sayings are at risk of dying out, according to Daniel Capurro, and a survey of 2,000 18–50-year-olds. Asked if they had used specific phrases such as “nail your colours to the mast” 71% said they had never used it.  Can’t say as I ever have either. Some of the phrases originate from the Bible or Shakespeare, or Dickens. 51% said they had never used “see a man about a dog” or “as snug as a bug in a rug”.  I have used those before.

As our language constantly evolves, phrases come in and out of fashion and it was interesting to note that 73% of those surveyed said they thought it would be a shame if those phrases did die out.  But if they are not using them, that seems the only inevitable conclusion, doesn’t it?

So, here’s the list of 50 phrases on the endangered list, with the percentage of survey participants who never use it:

  1. Pearls before swine 78%
  2. Nail your colours to the mast 71%
  3. Colder than a witch’s t– 71%
  4. Pip pip 70%
  5. Know your onions 68%
  6. A nod is as good as a wink 66%
  7. A stitch in time saves nine 64%
  8. Ready for the knackers yard 62%
  9. I’ve dropped a clanger 60%
  10. A fly in the ointment 59%
  11. Keen as mustard 58%
  12. A flash in the pan 57%
  13. Tickety boo 57%
  14. A load of codswallop 56%
  15. A curtain twitcher 56%
  16. Knickers in a twist 56%
  17. Dead as a doornail 55%
  18. A dog’s dinner 55%
  19. It’s chock a block 55%
  20. Storm in a teacup 55%
  21. Could not organise a p— up in a brewery 54%
  22. Not enough room to swing a cat 54%
  23. Flogging a dead horse 54%
  24. Toe the line 54%
  25. Popped her clogs 54%
  26. Drop them a line 53%
  27. Steal my thunder 53%
  28. A few sandwiches short of a picnic 53%
  29. A legend in one’s own lifetime 52%
  30. Be there or be square 52%
  31. Fell off the back of a lorry 52%
  32. A bodge job 52%
  33. Eat humble pie 52%
  34. Having a chinwag 52%
  35. Put a sock in it 52%
  36. Mad as a Hatter 51%
  37. Spend a penny 51%
  38. Cool as a cucumber 51%
  39. It’s gone pear shaped 51%
  40. It cost a bomb 51%
  41. Raining cats and dogs 51%
  42. See a man about a dog 51%
  43. It takes the biscuit 50%
  44. He’s a good egg 50%
  45. Snug as a bug in a rug 49%
  46. Chuffed to bits 49%
  47. Have a gander 49%
  48. Selling like hot cakes 49%
  49. Pardon my French 48%
  50. A Turn up for the books 45%

I think I’ve used all of them except the first six.  Which ones do you still use and what other phrases do you use that are dying out?


One thought on “50 endangered sayings showing a sign of the times

  1. I have heard if all of them but probably not used the first 5. Although I say toodle pip rather than pip pip 🤣


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