There are some phrases we hear from time to time that you just have to wonder how they got started.  One of them is 'filthy rich.'  This term was formerly used to discuss someone who is very wealthy and who became that way through shall we say unfair means.

Currently the phrase has been softened some.  It is often used to talk about someone who is extremely wealthy.  Even if they got that way through honest means.

The term 'filthy rich' can be traced back to the 16th century.  The exact phrase was first used in print during the 1920's.  A 1929 edition of the Ohio newspaper called The Lima News used it in a story discussing the effects of the Great Depression.  Many people were forced to sell their homes or starve.

The article stated:  "There is a depressed market.  If any of our stock-gambling filthy rich want a winter home, now is the time to acquire it."

Another term heard over the years is 'feel the pinch.'

This phrase was first used in the mid 1800's to describe when a company or person is not doing very well financially.

Perhaps this refers to the pinch that small children feel when they walk in small shoes because their parents can't afford to buy them new ones that fit right.

One of my all time favorites is to 'take with a grain of salt' when discussing something.  Of course this means the listener or reader should take the source of the information lightly because it is unreliable or exaggerated.

In British English they say, "Take it with a pinch of salt."  According to, "This great expression, although an ancient one, was not used in it's current meaning until much later.  It is said that Pliny the Elder translated an ancient antidote for poison in 77 A.D. which recommends taking the antidote with a grain of salt.  In it's current meaning however it's been used since the 1600's.  The pinch of salt came around the mid 1900's."

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