We really love a good idiom. But sometimes the idioms we use every day have endings that we’re not aware of (don’t know). These endings of common idioms can add to the phrase or may change the meaning completely.
We’ve compiled (put together) some of our favorite endings of common idioms for you to peruse (look through). Do you know these endings? Or are they new to you? Read on to find out what they are!
Curiosity killed the cat
- Original idiom: Curiosity killed the cat.
- Complete idiom: Curiosity killed the cat, but satisfaction brought it back.
The original idiom, curiosity killed the cat, warns against being too curious, as it can get you into trouble. If you dig too deep into an issue, it might bring about consequences that you didn’t anticipate (foresee/think about beforehand), so it’s better to stay out of things that don’t concern you.
However, the ending to this idiom plays upon the idea that cats have nine lives. It implies (suggests) that sometimes it’s better to know the whole truth about something, and that answers can be extremely satisfying (bring a good feeling to you). So if you really want to know something, go out and find the answers!
Great minds think alike
- Original idiom: Great minds think alike.
- Complete idiom: Great minds think alike, though fools seldom differ.
If you’ve ever had the same idea as a family member or a friend, they might have said “great minds,” which is a shortened form of the idiom great minds think alike. While the original idiom is nice, because it makes it seem like only the best people have the same ideas, the complete idiom is a little less complimentary (flattering, nice to say).
The ending, though fools seldom differ, changes the meaning of this common idiom. Instead, the complete phrase says that it’s usually foolish people that have the same ideas all the time. Great minds have similar ideas, however, foolish ones always agree.
Blood is thicker than water
- Original idiom: Blood is thicker than water.
- Complete idiom: The blood of the covenant is thicker than the water of the womb.
The idiom blood is thicker than water is typically used to say that the ties to your family are more important, and stronger, than to friends. However, the complete idiom doesn’t mean this at all. The complete idiom says that the bonds we have with friends and chosen “family” can be stronger than those we have with our real, blood family.
Though this may not be true in every case, there are a lot of people who are closer to their friends than their family. Also, as an expat, finding your chosen “family” when living abroad is a very important part of making somewhere new seem (feel) like home!
Money is the root of all evil
- Original idiom: Money is the root of all evil.
- Complete idiom: For the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil.
Money is the root of all evil leads one to think that having a lot of money is a bad thing. While some may find this true, the complete idiom tells a slightly different story. The complete idiom says that it’s love of money, or greed, that is bad. Having money in and of itself (alone, only) may not be wrong, but always wanting more and more money can lead to problems.
Jack of all trades, master of none
- Original idiom: Jack of all trades, master of none.
- Complete idiom: Jack of all trades, master of none, though oftentimes better than master of one.
Have you ever heard somebody called a jack of all trades? This means that they are skilled in lots of different areas and know how to do a lot of different things. The rest of the idiom says that if you know a lot of skills, that you can’t become very good at any of them.
But the complete idiom says that knowing a little about a lot of different skills is usually better than being an expert in one field. So use this idiom as motivation to pick up a new skill! Who knows what it could be useful for?
Do you know any other endings of common idioms? Have you heard any of these before? Share them with us in the comments below!
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Erin Duffin lives in Hamburg, is an English teacher, blogger, yoga instructor, and appreciates how learning the endings of common idioms can completely change their meaning. It’s worth learning the whole phrase!
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