Social Question

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

What are some sayings that don't really mean anything?

Asked by MyNewtBoobs (19026points) October 4th, 2010

What are some sayings that sound like they mean something, but really don’t? Maybe it’s because when you think about it, it makes no sense or is so obvious it doesn’t need saying. Maybe it’s because the definition is so vague and subjective that it’s lost all meaning.

I know there are tons and tons of political ones, so bonus points if it’s used in everyday speech.

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49 Answers

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

I’ll start us off with “Real Americans”

bigjay's avatar

‘a friend in need is a friend indeed’
how does that make any sense? how is a friend that needs you a true friend? it is YOU who is the true friend, for helping out this needy person
the saying should be ‘a friend [who helps] a friend in need is a friend indeed’ but ofcourse, if the saying was so clumsy, it probably wouldnt be that famous :X

Seaofclouds's avatar

@bigjay It means someone that needs something from you will act like they are your friend to get what they want.

bigjay's avatar

@Seaofclouds golly i feel like an idiot! after all these years it make sense – thanks sea you’ve put a smile on my face and left me dumbfounded

mrentropy's avatar

A stitch in time saves nine.

ANef_is_Enuf's avatar

I thought “a friend in need is a friend indeed” meant that the people who stick by you through the tough times are indeed your real friends…

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

@TheOnlyNeffie @bigjay @Seaofclouds There are 4 options:
1. A friend, (when you are) in need, is indeed a true friend. (‘indeed’)
2. A friend, (when you are) in need, is someone who is prepared to act to show it (‘in deed’)
3. A friend, (who is) in need, is indeed a true friend. (‘indeed’)
4. A friend, (who is) in need, is someone who is prepared to act to show it (‘in deed’)

Seaofclouds's avatar

@papayalily I never knew there were other options! Thanks for sharing!

FutureMemory's avatar

Family values.

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

@FutureMemory Nice.

I’m going to add “It’s not personal, it’s just business” because there is something personal about saying that you aren’t so insanely good that they just can’t possibly part with you.

Trillian's avatar

@mrentropy A stitch in time saves nine; it means that if you catch the tear while it’s small you can save yourself a lot of sewing later after the tear widens.

aprilsimnel's avatar

Having your cake and eating it, too.

I mean, I’m no masochist. If there’s cake around, I’m eating it. Wouldn’t anybody? So what’s the point of that saying?

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

@aprilsimnel Ok, I’m going to lay a world of change on you. Because I totally, 100% agreed with you, until it was explained to me.

Having your cake and eating it too means:
If you “have” your cake, it means you are keeping it for later consumption in your cake-storing place (fridge, counter, under the bed, where ever you keep spare cake).
To eat it means to digest it, at the present time.
So, cake cannot be in 2 places at once, nor can it revert to being uneaten after it has been eaten.

It’s a really complicated way of saying “you can’t have it both ways, because they each entail NOT having it the other way”.

CyanoticWasp's avatar

Most of the Bible. Some of the Proverbs aren’t bad at all, but some of The Word is pure nonsense.

” will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” Nonsense

SuperMouse's avatar

Fact from fiction, truth from diction. It has been pointed out on this very site numerous times that that phrase makes absolutely no sense!

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

@SuperMouse I really loved all the responses on that thread saying it meant not to read any further. So glad I’m not the only one who feels that way :-D

aprilsimnel's avatar

@papayalily – Ah. I see.

That would totally work for me, except that I never save cake. :/

lillycoyote's avatar

@mrentropy Actually, I think that one, a stitch in time saves nine, makes a lot of sense. Maybe if boys did more sewing and mending ..., oh well, it just means that it is better to address, better to fix a problem right away, than to wait, because things can “unravel” and get out of control very quickly, just like a hole in your shirt is only going to get bigger if it is not mended right away, with “one stitch” rather than the “nine stitches” it is going to take to fix the hole further down the road if you ignore it.

chyna's avatar

It is what it is. No shit.

lillycoyote's avatar

The one that I’ve never really understood is “that’s like comparing apples to oranges.” What does that mean? As close as I can figure it must mean comparing things that seem similar but really aren’t. Is that what it means? They’re both fruit, they’re both round or roundish, they both fall in the orange/red spectrum, both grow on trees, both have seeds, make good juice, can be peeled, packed in lunches, etc. the list goes on. What exactly is the problem with comparing apples to oranges?

Trillian's avatar

@aprilsimnel That is because people say it incorrectly. The actual saying is to Eat your cake and have it too. Meaning that people like to have it both ways.
But the other way of saying it is insane. because you can’t eat your cake if you dont have it…. Lots of sayings make no sense because people jack them up. Like people who say “No rest for the weary.” It “wicked”! No rest for the wicked! Gaaaahhhhhh!
@chyna It is what it… oh, never mind. ;-)

AmWiser's avatar

@CyanoticWasp I thought that John 8:32 read “…you will know the truth and the truth will make you free”

Berserker's avatar

I really don’t understand what ’‘truth from fiction fact from diction’’ is supposed to mean.

lillycoyote's avatar

Fact from fiction, truth from diction? I don’t think I’ve ever even heard that one.

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

@lillycoyote It’s @Hypocrisy_Central’s own, personal saying. He (she?) made it up.

Trillian's avatar

Do “A” work, get an “A” grade. Do “D” work…. You get the grade that you earn. I never heard it before, but I get it.

YARNLADY's avatar

I like pairing sayings, like
“If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again”
“Don’t bang you head against a brick wall”

Where does one start and the other end?

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

@Trillian It makes sense when you don’t look too closely, the problem is, grading is soooo insanely subjective. It’s literally impossible for an English teacher to remove themselves from the equation, and even math teachers often give partial credit that can be totally dependent on their mood.

Trillian's avatar

@papayalily Yes, I suppose if one is looking past mechanics… Beyond proper grammar and punctuation lies a whole world of subjectivity.
Math on the other hand, or cooking for tha matter… ;-)

Artistree's avatar

My friend and I have a habit of responding ”...a button on your head.” when someone ends a sentance with “so…” and then trails of. Absolute nonsense but it makes us smile.

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

@Trillian Even with grammar and punctuation, you’d be surprised at how much subjectivity there is. Once you get the basics down, there’s a surprising amount of wiggle room.

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

@FutureMemory Seeing as how that member starts every reply with “if it doesn’t fit, you must acquit” even if the saying isn’t even remotely relevant (it’s not on an acne question…), I call Hypocrisy’s alter-ego, Hypocrisy 2.

Trillian's avatar

@Artistree I used to know someone who said ”,,,buttons on your underwear,zippers on your socks.” It took me a long time to figure out that she was spelling so as “sew”. ....Light comes on! “Oh!” (Sheepish grin)

lillycoyote's avatar

@FutureMemory LOL. But isn’t @zen_ a sweetheart? He always adds the newbies to his fluther, no matter who they might already be. He’s the one man fluther welcoming committee.:-)

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

@lillycoyote No, Zen didn’t add Fact, Fact added Zen.

ucme's avatar

It drives you round the bend!?! What bend? Where? Why? Is there some madness going on around said bend that you feel obligated to witness?

BoBo1946's avatar

@FutureMemory LMAO… that not the “dang truth!”

brokensoul's avatar

“Life is short”
Life is the longest thing any of us will ever do. correct?

mrentropy's avatar

@everyone I know what it means, but nobody ever specifies ‘9’ what. Nine minutes? Nine more stitches? What?

@TheOnlyNeffie A friend in need is a friend indeed, because if they need your help you can extort all kinds of nifty things for them.

CyanoticWasp's avatar

@mrentropy “A stich… saves nine.” ‘Stitches’; it’s perfectly implied. If they meant nine dollars, nine lives or nine of anything else, then it would have been said, so there wouldn’t be ambiguity or guessing. You’re clutching at straws (there’s a good one, right there) to claim ignorance of that meaning.

MeinTeil's avatar

War is not the answer.

I didnt ask what the answer WASN’T!

MeinTeil's avatar


Meaningless as a isolated statement.

But doesn’t it look so good on your rear bumper.

lillycoyote's avatar

@papayalily LOL. I’m such an idiot sometimes. Well, not an idiot exactly, not always at least; I just don’t really pay attention to the little details. So, when Thanksgiving rolls around at the papayalily house, you can add to the list of things for which you are grateful: “I am very thankful that lillycoyote is not an air traffic controller” :-)

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

@lillycoyote Yeah, like I’m really gonna wait till Thanksgiving to be grateful for that… ;)

lillycoyote's avatar

@papayalily That’s the right attitude! Some people don’t understand that there are things that they should be grateful for each and every day of their lives.

There is no need to wait until Thanksgiving to appreciate how lucky you really are.

Love ya, sweet thing. :-)

crappy's avatar

i need a friend and a friend needs me

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