10 Old Sayings We Need to Bring Back

iStock
iStock

Before the Internet, we could not use memes of Willy Wonka or a triumphant baby to express ourselves. Instead, we used proverbs: catchy lines that encapsulate universal truths. Some were introduced to the world by witty writers, and some seemed to emerge fully formed into the collective conscious. Many of them are still with us (I’m not pulling your leg; More than you can swing a cat at), but many more have fallen out of use over the centuries. Here are 10 that should really be brought back.

1. “Bed is the poor man’s Opera.”

Source: Old Italian proverb
Meaning: The man who can’t afford expensive entertainments can still conduct the most passionate of orchestrations in his own bed.
Modern Usage: Something charming to say to your girlfriend when you’ve blown your paycheck on EVE Online Time Codes but are still hoping to get lucky.

2. “Children are certain cares, but uncertain comforts.”

Source: How the Good Wife, 1460
Meaning: You can bet you’re gonna have to change their diapers, but there’s no guarantee they’ll stick around to change yours.
Example of Modern Usage: The proper response to anyone who smiles smugly at a childless woman in her mid-thirties, points to their watch and says, “tick tick tick!”

3. “When cobwebs are plenty kisses are scarce.”

Source: Notes and Queries, 1864
Meaning: Dirty houses are not sexy.
Example of Modern Usage: Something a wife might say in bed as she shoves a body pillow between her sweat-pant clad body and her husband’s. Especially if that husband promised to use the weekend to remove all his old Maxim magazines and dusty weightlifting crap from the guest room, and then didn’t.

4. “He who would pun would pick a pocket."

Source: Alexander Pope, 1729
Meaning: If you’re of such low character the best jokes you can come up are throwbacks from the Brady Bunch Variety Hour, there is nothing you won’t stoop to.
Example of Modern Usage: You can try to silence Uncle Ron’s miserable jokes next Thanksgiving with this bon mot… but he’ll probably just answer back with, “He who would stun would pee on a socket.” And then swipe your wallet.

5. “A friend to all is a friend to none.”

Source: Wadroephe, 1623
Meaning: This is why we hate politicians. They have to morph to please so many different types of people; they appear dishonest and false.
Example of Modern Usage: Your explanation to your friends for why you voted for Nader. He’s not a friend to anyone who guiltlessly emits carbon, so you know you can trust him!

6. “Garlic makes a man wink, drink, and stink.”

Source: Nashe, 1594
Meaning: Garlic inflames your lust, lures you to drunkenness, and makes your entire body smell like over-seasoned meat.
Example of Modern Usage: A joyful Best Man’s toast at a New Jersey wedding reception. Because c’mon, who wouldn’t wish for an awesome life of wink and stink for their best friend?

7. “The gist of a lady’s letter is in her postscript.”

Source: Edgeworth, 1801
Meaning: From your grandma to your girlfriend, all the preceding paragraphs about the health of pets and the obnoxiousness of Cindy from work mean nothing compared to the stuff after the “P.S.”
Modern Usage Example: No matter how cheerful the email, if it’s followed by a P.S. that says, “Oh by the way I noticed you didn’t take the car for an oil change like you said you were going to…”, this was the purpose of the entire correspondence, and you are in peril.

8. “Bachelor’s wives and maid’s children are well taught.”

Source: Heywood, 1546
Meaning: When you don’t have a spouse or a kid, you know everything about maintaining a healthy relationship with spouses and kids.
Modern Usage Example: When your single-and-loving it! friend informs you that you really shouldn’t yell at your 6 year old for trying to force the dog and cat to kiss, and instead use the positive-reinforcement tactics she recently learned in her Intro to Psych class. Invite her to practice those tactics while you go spend an hour or two at Starbucks. Do not show her where you keep your Xanax. She has a lesson to learn.

9. “We are born crying, live complaining, and die disappointed.”

Source: Unknown
Meaning: Oh, I think you know all too well what this means.
Modern Usage Example: Anytime anyone asks you for anything, ever.

10. “Gluttony kills more than the sword.”

Source: Barclay, 1509
Meaning: Even in 1509, when you had to overtake and slay your food before consuming it, overeating was still hardening arteries, enlarging hearts, and filling graveyards.
Modern Usage Example: Thing you say to anyone who presumes to take the last piece of The Colonel’s fried chicken when it is rightfully yours. Can be accompanied with a friendly jiggle of whichever bit of their body fat you can reach. (We're not responsible for any subsequent injuries.)

Amazon's Best Black Friday Deals: Tech, Video Games, Kitchen Appliances, Clothing, and More

Amazon
Amazon

This article contains affiliate links to products selected by our editors. Mental Floss may receive a commission for purchases made through these links.

Black Friday is finally here, and Amazon is offering great deals on kitchen appliances, tech, video games, and plenty more. We will keep updating this page as sales come in, but for now, here are the best Amazon Black Friday sales to check out.

Kitchen

Instant Pot/Amazon

- Instant Pot Duo Plus 9-in-115 Quart Electric Pressure Cooker; $90 (save $40)

- Keurig K-Cafe Special Edition; $190 (save $30)

- Ninja OS301 Foodi 10-in-1 Pressure Cooker and Air Fryer; $125 (save $75)

- Nespresso Vertuo Next Coffee and Espresso Machine by Breville; $120 (save $60)

- KitchenAid KSMSFTA Sifter with Scale Attachment; $95 (save $75)

- Keurig K-Mini Coffee Maker; $60 (save $20)

- Cuisinart Bread Maker; $80 (save $97)

- Anova Culinary Sous Vide Precision Cooker; $139 (save $60)

- Aicook Juicer Machine; $35 (save $15)

- JoyJolt Double Wall Insulated Espresso Mugs - Set of Two; $14 (save $10)

- Longzon Silicone Stretch Lids - Set of 14; $16 (save $11)

- HadinEEon Milk Frother; $37 (save $33)

Home Appliances

Roomba/Amazon

- iRobot Roomba 675 Robot Vacuum with Wi-Fi Connectivity; $179 (save $101)

- ASAKUKI 500ml Premium Essential Oil Diffuser; $22 (save $4)

- Facebook Portal Smart Video Calling 10 inch Touch Screen Display with Alexa; $129 (save $50)

- Bissell air320 Smart Air Purifier with HEPA and Carbon Filters; $280 (save $50)

- Oscillating Quiet Cooling Fan Tower; $59 (save $31)

- TaoTronics PTC 1500W Fast Quiet Heating Ceramic Tower; $55 (save $10)

- Vitamix 068051 FoodCycler 2 Liter Capacity; $300 (save $100)

- Ring Video Doorbell; $70 (save $30)

Video games

Sony

- Marvel's Spider-Man: Game of The Year Edition for PlayStation 4; $20 (save $20)

- The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening; $40 (save $20)

- Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity; $50 (save $10)

- Marvel's Avengers; $25 (save $33)

- The Last of Us Part II for PlayStation 4; $30 (save $30)

- LEGO Harry Potter: Collection; $15 (save $15)

- Ghost of Tsushima; $40 (save $20)

- BioShock: The Collection; $20 (save $30)

- The Sims 4; $24 (save $20)

- God of Warfor PlayStation 4; $10 (save $10)

- Days Gonefor PlayStation 4; $20 (save $6)

- Luigi's Mansion 3 for Nintendo Switch; $40 (save $20)

Computers and tablets

Microsoft/Amazon

- New Apple MacBook Pro 16 inches with 512 GB; $2149 (save $250)

- Microsoft Surface Laptop 3 with 13.5 inch Touch-Screen; $1200 (save $400)

- Lenovo ThinkPad T490 Laptop; $889 (save $111)

- Amazon Fire HD 10 Tablet (64GB); $120 (save $70)

- Amazon Fire HD 10 Kids Edition Tablet (32 GB); $130 (save $70)

- Apple iPad Mini (64 GB); $335 (save $64)

- Vankyo MatrixPad S2 Tablet; $120 (save $10)

Tech, gadgets, and TVs

Apple/Amazon

- Apple Watch Series 3 with GPS; $120 (save $79)

- Seneo Wireless Charger, 3 in 1 Wireless Charging Station; $16 (save $10)

- SAMSUNG 75-inch Class Crystal 4K Smart TV; $998 (save $200)

- Nixplay 2K Smart Digital Picture Frame 9.7 Inch Silver; $238 (save $92)

- All-New Amazon Echo Dot with Clock and Alexa (4th Gen); $39 (save $21)

- MACTREM LED Ring Light 6" with Tripod Stand; $16 (save $3)

- Amazon Fire TV Stick with Alexa Voice Remote; $28 (save $12)

- DR. J Professional HI-04 Mini Projector; $93 (save $37)

Headphones and speakers

Beats/Amazon

- Beats Solo3 Wireless On-Ear Headphones; $120 (Save $80)

- Apple AirPods Pro; $169 (save $50)

- Anker Soundcore Upgraded Bluetooth Speaker; $22 (save $8)

- Powerbeats Pro Wireless Earphones; $175 (save $75)

- JBL Boombox; $280 (save $120)

Movies and TV

HBO/Amazon

- Game of Thrones: The Complete Series; $115 (save $89)

- Jurassic World 5-Movie Set; $23 (save $37)

- Deadwood: The Complete Series; $42 (save $28)

- Back to the Future Trilogy; $15 (save $21)

Toys and Games

Amazon

- Awkward Family Photos Greatest Hits; $15 (save $10)

- Exploding Kittens Card Game; $10 (save $10)

- Cards Against Humanity: Hidden Gems Bundle; $14 (save $5)

- LOL Surprise OMG Remix Pop B.B. Fashion Doll; $29 (save $6)

- LEGO Ideas Ship in a Bottle 92177 Expert Building Kit; $56 (save $14)

Furniture

Casper/Amazon

- Casper Sleep Element Queen Mattress; $476 (save $119)

- ZINUS Alexis Deluxe Wood Platform Bed Frame; $135 (save $24)

- ROMOON Dresser Organizer with 5 Drawers; $59 (save $11) 

- AmazonBasics Room Darkening Blackout Window Curtains; $26 (save $5)

- Writing Desk by Caffoz; $119 (save $21)

- SPACE Seating Office Support Managers Chair; $112 (save $116)

- Rivet Globe Stick Table Lamp; $53 (save $17)

- Christopher Knight Home Merel Mid-Century Modern Club Chair; $188 (save $10)

- Walker Edison Furniture Industrial Rectangular Coffee Table; $121 (save $48)

Beauty

Haus/Amazon

- MySmile Teeth Whitening Kit with LED Light; $21 (save $12) 

- Cliganic USDA Organic Lip Balms Set of Six; $6 (save $4)

- HAUS LABORATORIES By Lady Gaga: LE RIOT LIP GLOSS; $7 (save $11)

- Native Deodorant for Men and Women Set of Three; $25 (save $11) 

- BAIMEI Rose Quartz Jade Roller & Gua Sha; $14 (save $3)

- Honest Beauty Clearing Night Serum with Pure Retinol and Salicylic Acid; $20 (save $8)

- WOW Apple Cider Vinegar Shampoo and Hair Conditioner Set; $30 (save $5) 

- La Roche-Posay Effaclar Purifying Foaming Gel Cleanser; $15 (save $5)

- wet n wild Bretman Rock Shadow Palette; $9 (save $6)

- EltaMD UV Daily Tinted Face Sunscreen Moisturizer with Hyaluronic Acid; $25 (save $6)

Clothes

Ganni/Amazon

- Ganni Women's Crispy Jacquard Dress; $200 (save $86) 

- The Drop Women's Maya Silky Slip Skirt; $36 (save $9)

- Steve Madden Women's Editor Boot; $80 (save $30)

- adidas Women's Roguera Cross Trainer; $40 (save $25)

- Line & Dot Women's Elizabeth Sweater; $74 (save $18)

- Levi's Men's Sherpa Trucker Jacket; $57 (save $41)

- Adidas Men's Essentials 3-Stripes Tapered Training Joggers Sweatpants; $28 (save $12)

- Timex Men's Weekender XL 43mm Watch; $32 (save $20)

- Ray-Ban Unisex-Adult Hexagonal Flat Lenses Sunglasses; $108 (save $46) 

- Reebok Men's Flashfilm Train Cross Trainer; $64 (save $16)

Sign Up Today: Get exclusive deals, product news, reviews, and more with the Mental Floss Smart Shopping newsletter!

What Is a Scuttlebutt, and Why Do We Like to Hear It?

Photo by Courtney Nuss on Unsplash

Casual conversation is home to a variety of prompts. You might ask someone how they’re doing, what’s new, or if they’ve done anything interesting recently. Sometimes, you can ask them what the scuttlebutt is. “What’s the scuttlebutt?” you’d say, for example, and then they’d reply with the solicited scuttlebutt.

We can easily infer that scuttlebutt is a slang term for information or maybe even gossip. But what exactly is scuttlebutt, and why did it become associated with idle water cooler talk?

According to Merriam-Webster, a scuttlebutt referred to a cask on sailing ships in the 1800s that contained drinking water for those on board. It was later used as the name of the drinking fountain found on a ship or in a Naval installation. The cask was known as a butt, while scuttle was taken from the French word escoutilles and means hatch or hole. A scuttlebutt was therefore a hatch in the cask.

Because sailors usually received orders from shouting supervisors, talking amongst themselves was discouraged. Since sailors could congregate around the fountain, it became a place to finally catch up and exchange gossip, making scuttlebutt synonymous with casual conversation. The scuttlebutt was really the only place to do it.

Nautical technology made the scuttlebutt obsolete, but the term endured, becoming a catch-all word for unfounded rumors.

The next time someone asks you what the scuttlebutt is, now you can tell them.

Have you got a Big Question you'd like us to answer? If so, let us know by emailing us at bigquestions@mentalfloss.com.