BY YOUR OWN PETARD, THOU ART HOISTED – Marilyn Armstrong

Last night I said to Garry “Aha! He is hoisted upon his own petard!”

By which meant he had just become the victim of what he (in this case a movie character) had planned for someone else. Then, I paused, thinking.

“What,” I asked Garry, “Is a petard?”

“I have no idea,” said my husband.  Which is when I realized I’ve been using this expression my whole life and don’t know what it means.

Petard sounds French, but what is it? I grabbed my laptop and typed  “hoist on his … ” into Google. Before I got to petard … up it came. Don’t you just love when that happens?

petards

Voila! Courtesy of Wikipedia, here is the rest of the story.

petard was a bomb used to blow up gates and walls when breaching fortifications. Castles. Walled cities. That sort of thing. The word was originally (duh) French and dates to the sixteenth century.

Typically, a petard was metal (bronze or iron), shaped like a cone or box. Filled with two or three kilos (5 or 6 pounds) of gunpowder and using a slow match for a fuse, the petard was a primitive, powerful and unstable explosive device.

After being filled with gunpowder, it would be attached to a wooden base and fastened to a wall, on or under a gate. The fuse was lit. If all went as planned, the explosion would blow a hole big enough to let assault troops through.

Thus the phrase “hoist on his/her own petard” came to mean “harmed by one’s own plan to harm someone else.” It suggests you could be lifted — hoisted — by your own bomb.

LITERALLY AS OPPOSED TO FIGURATIVELY – Marilyn Armstrong

FOWC

Literally. Not figuratively. Because figuratively means “related to or analogous to” but it doesn’t mean “factually the same.”

This is one of those frequently used terms that’s often misunderstood. Literally has nothing to do with literature. I’m sure the “lit” part comes from some Greek or Latin root word but is not a literal interpretation of the expression “literally.” Figuratively speaking.

Speaking literally means that what you are saying is true. It’s not an analogy or something that’s similar to something else. If you say “That is literally what happened” you are saying this is not an exaggeration or some other kind of relationship to the whatever it was.

It’s what happened. Really. No kidding. It’s the news. Maybe it’s the news roundup. It is true.

Remember true? Literally is true, just like I said it.

MARTYR? REALLY? AW, C’MON …

Who is picking these prompts? Martyr? Seriously?

Personally, I don’t know any martyrs. Historically, there’s a lot to choose from but I’m not in the mood to go pluck one from the pages of the past, or pull someone from the fires of the righteous.

I’m no martyr. Whatever sacrifices I may have made on behalf of my beliefs, they never came anywhere near the level of martyrdom. Discomfort or disruption to a normal life do not make you a martyr. Taking care of your kids, working at jobs you don’t like, or struggling to survive? None of these make you a martyr. This is one of those overused words. Along with “awesome,” “resonate,” and the ubiquitous phrase “back in the day.”

72-martyr-flames

“I’m a martyr to housework,” I hear. Really? What strange belief system do you follow?

I am not a martyr. You are not a martyr. I’m willing to stake money on it — neither was your father, mother, or any of your friends. Even if they served in the military or worked in a coal mine. There are other words for that.

English is a wonderful, rich language. We have words for everything, This one is mostly used incorrectly to mean “dedicated,” “dutiful,” “honorable,” “generous,” or “self-sacrificing.” “Martyr” is a pretty specific term. Unless you are in jail and likely to die for your political or religious beliefs, you ain’t no martyr.

Final note: dedicating your life to a cause doesn’t make you a martyr. If they assassinate you because of it (see “Martin Luthor King” for a recent historical example or any saint in whatever registry saints and their deeds are listed), then (maybe) you are a martyr. I think if you don’t die, but they torture you a lot, you might slip into the martyr category. I’d last about 10 seconds under torture. It’s possible that the threat alone would make me spill my guts. Guess I’m lucky I don’t know anything anyone will kill me to learn … nor do I represent anything except me. I may have a big mouth, but no one is going to kill me to make me shut up.

Well, maybe Garry.

MARTYR | THE DAILY POST

NOTE: We are actually going to be gone most of the day, so if I don’t answer your comments, it’s because we aren’t home. I’ll try to get back to the computer when we get back. It might be late.  So today, the cyber-world may have to soldier on without my help.

HOIST ON YOUR OWN PETARD!

Last night I said to Garry “Aha! He is hoist on his own petard!” Which meant that he had just become a victim of what he (in this case a movie character) had planned for someone else. Then, I paused, thinking.

“What,” I asked Garry, “Is a petard?”

“I have no idea,” said my husband.  Which is when I realized I’ve been using this expression my whole life … and don’t know what it means. Not really. Petard sounds French, but what is it? I grabbed my laptop and typed  “hoist on his … ” into Google. Before I got to petard … up it came. Don’t you just love when that happens?

petards

Voila! Courtesy of Wikipedia, here is the rest of the story.

petard was a bomb used to blow up gates and walls when breaching fortifications. Castles. Walled cities. That sort of thing. The word was originally (duh) French and dates to the sixteenth century. Typically, a petard was metal (bronze or iron), shaped like a cone or box. Filled with two or three kilos (5 or 6 pounds) of gunpowder and using a slow match for a fuse, the petard was a primitive, powerful and unstable explosive device.

After being filled with gunpowder, it would be attached to a wooden base and fastened to a wall, on or under a gate. The fuse was lit. If all went as planned, the explosion would blow a hole big enough to let assault troops through.

Thus the phrasehoist on his/her own petard” came to mean “harmed by ones own plan to harm someone else.”  It suggests you could be lifted — hoisted — by ones own bomb.