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Zen_Again's avatar

Why are we "reduced" to tears, per se, and other idioms and language idiosyncracies? (More details inside.)

Asked by Zen_Again (9911points) January 6th, 2010

We “jot down” a note, we “keep” a diary, we print a newspaper, we “write”, then publish an article; can you think of some of these little idiomatic sayings that appeal to you, and why?

I am not looking for a list, I am looking for some “off the top of your head” – when do you use it and how, its history – or maybe, your own personal history with a term, a phrase, an idiom a parable…

Talk to me.


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19 Answers

snowberry's avatar

Well, we “break down in tears” also. Being “reduced to tears” follows right along with that thought.

Zen_Again's avatar

@CakeOrDeath LOVES IT! Thanks.


Edit: @snow – you are right – and that’s a good one, too.

CyanoticWasp's avatar

We fuck up at work, fuck over our victims, fuck around when there’s nothing to do, get fucked up when we drink too much… fuck it; that’s enough for tonight.

MagsRags's avatar

Snap a photo

Nullo's avatar

Can’t think of any right now, but as for why, I’d guess that someone thought of a clever way to say something, and it caught on.

Spinel's avatar

Take forty winks.
Weave a tale.

Supacase's avatar

We eat our words
swallow our pride
speak off the top of our head
have answers on the tip of our tongue
and catch 40 winks

gemiwing's avatar

I lost my temper

I used to say this all the time until my therapist enlightened me and said that it was bullshit. You don’t lose it- you let it take control. You find your temper. Made me realize I’m more in control than I thought I was.

Strauss's avatar

Oncer I had it all together but I forgot where I put it!

CyanoticWasp's avatar

We break up, break down, break out, break in and break even. And some of us do that after a good breakfast. My car broke down, and the mechanic broke down the bill he gave me. I broke out in a sweat, and then broke out in smiles when he gave me my discount. I decided to break out a bottle when I got home, but then I had to break in because I didn’t have my key. So I broke even for the day, which was good, because I’m broke. I could just break down and cry.

We throw up, throw down, throw out, throw in, throw around, and get thoroughly confused.

I threw up that breakfast when my wife threw down on me. I put her in her place, but I threw out my back while we fought, and later threw out the trash (it’s a good thing I didn’t confuse those). I threw in the towel on our fight, and we decided to throw around a basketball to relax. But enough of that; I’m sick of it, through and through.

Dr_Lawrence's avatar

I’m prone to getting lost in my own (deep) thoughts. I may lose track of what I was doing before this happened. I refer to this as having “gone to the Bahamas.” I may have first heard it in a Robin Williams stand-up routine.

While driving to a specific destination I know well how to reach, I may just continue driving past my exit or turn because “I was on autopilot” My daughter does it to and uses the same expression.

Spinel's avatar

Tap the collective.

Jeruba's avatar

There’s a sense of being diminished by that eventuality. Tears aren’t the only thing we’re reduced to. You might say you were reduced to begging, or reduced to asking for help (e.g., “I gave up in my struggle with the user’s manual and was reduced to calling tech support”). You might say someone is in reduced circumstances. It’s a somewhat literary expression but not at all out of keeping with the figurative sense of the word and a simultaneous moral or social judgment on that state.

Sarcasm's avatar

Because tears are the lowest common denominator. Everything can be reduced to them.
or is that the lowest common multiplier? Way too much work to google it.

stratman37's avatar

Don we now our gay apparel…

Sariperana's avatar

The Plot thickens…
Up at sparrow fart
bear a resemblance to
this is actually quite hard!!!

zenele's avatar

@Dr_Lawrence I like auto-pilot as it is used – how would we apply it here? When fluthering around but not really reading to deeply into anything, are we auto-fluthering or on fluther-pilot?

chocolatechip's avatar


You lose (control of) your temper.

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