# 8: So who Said …
Ever wonder who came up with certain phrases we tend to use in our everyday lives? Here are a few.
To coin a phrase means to invent a new saying or idiomatic expression that is new or unique. However, the term to coin a phrase is most often used today in a sarcastic or ironic fashion, in order to acknowledge when someone has used a hackneyed phrase or a cliché.
The first use of the word coin as a verb occurred during the 1300′s, referring to the process of stamping metal coins with a die. The verb coin then evolved into describing other things that were newly made, and by the 1500′s the term to coin a word came into being. Shakespeare wrote in his play Coriolanus, produced in 1607: “So shall my Lungs Coine words till their decay.” The expression to coin a phrase didn’t appear until the mid-1800′s, and seems to have been an invention of American English.
24/7: It lists its first reference to 24/7 as from US magazine Sports Illustrated in 1983.
The man to use it was basketball player Jerry Reynolds and he was talking about his jump shot. This is when a player releases the ball in mid-air and Reynolds said his was “good 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year”.
Off with his head (Richard III) -Green-Eyed Monster (Othello) – Love is Blind (The Merchant of Venice) – The game is afoot (Henry V) – Wild Goose chase (Romeo and Juliet) - Seen better days (As you like it) – Good riddance (Troilus and Cressida() – Lie low (Much Ado About Nothing). You may have guess by the plays in parentheses, the coiner is none other than William Shakespeare. He also coined another 56 phrases that are randomly said to this day.
On a bit of a different note, the word “hello”.
What do you say when you pick up the phone?
You say “hello,” of course.
What do you say when someone introduces a friend, a relative, anybody at all?
You say “hello.”
Hello has to have been the standard English language greeting since English people began greeting, no?
The Oxford English Dictionary says the first published use of “hello” goes back only to 1827. And it wasn’t mainly a greeting back then. Ammon says people in the 1830′s said hello to attract attention (“Hello, what do you think you’re doing?”), or to express surprise (“Hello, what have we here?”). Hello didn’t become “hi” until the telephone arrived.
The dictionary says it was Thomas Edison who put hello into common usage. He urged the people who used his phone to say “hello” when answering. His rival, Alexander Graham Bell, thought the better word was “ahoy.”
“Ahoy,” it turns out, had been around longer — at least 100 years longer — than hello. It too was a greeting, albeit a nautical one, derived from the Dutch “hoi,” meaning “hello.” Bell felt so strongly about “ahoy” he used it for the rest of his life.
And so, by the way, does the entirely fictional “Monty” Burns, evil owner of the Springfield Nuclear Power Plant on The Simpsons. If you watch the program, you may have noticed that Mr. Burns regularly answers his phone “Ahoy-hoy,” a coinage the Urban Dictionary says is properly used “to greet or get the attention of small sloop-rigged coasting ship.” Mr. Burns, apparently, wasn’t told.
Why did hello succeed? Aamon points to the telephone book. The first phone books included authoritative How To sections on their first pages and “hello” was frequently the officially sanctioned greeting.
In fact, the first phone book ever published, by the District Telephone Company of New Haven, Connecticut, in 1878 (with 50 subscribers listed) told users to begin their conversations with “a firm and cheery ‘hulloa.’” (I’m guessing the “a” is silent.)
Whatever the reason, hello pushed past ahoy and never looked back. The same cannot be said of the phonebook’s recommended Way To End A Phone Conversation. The phonebook recommended: “That is all.”