Category Archives: Colloquialisms

Here you will find “old wives tales”, superstitions and famous sayings. From “Three is the Magic Number” to language “hooks” like “of the people, by the people, and for the people. Definition: an informal word or expression which is more suitable for use in speech than in writing

every which way


Function: adverb
Etymology: probably by folk etymology from Middle English everich way every way
Date: 1824
1 : in every direction
2 : in a disorderly manner : irregularly

For example, "How do you get thing done? The papers on your desk are scattered every which way."

Every which way idiom
In all directions, as in Papers were blowing every which way. [Colloquial; mid-1800s]


Every Which Way But Loose (1978)  Directed by James Fargo. With Clint Eastwood, Sondra Locke, Geoffrey Lewis.

Title origin:
The film’s title refers to the eponymous Eddie Rabbit song from the soundtrack, in which the singer complains that his girlfriend turns him "every which way but loose", i. e. he cannot bring himself to leave her although he is more of a freewheeling character. The film title is also out of the 1937 novel Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston where the main character Janie’s husband Tea Cake tells her about a fight he had with a man who had a knife, where in the fight Tea Cake "turned him every way but loose", i.e. fought him but did not let the man stab him.



toi-toi-toi: (an old European custom translated into words to wish you good luck). Saying toi (pronounce: toy) THREE times is derived from the custom of spitting three times over someone's shoulder for good luck. I guess it is easier to say toi-toi-toi than to actually spit. 

beg, borrow or steal

Meaning: to do anything to get something. For example, "I would beg, borrow or steal that song because I love music so much."

ball of wax

Meaning: Everything. For example, "If we understand this we understand the whole ball of wax."
Continue reading ball of wax

lucky in love

Meaning: Having good luck in relationships. For example, "She is lucky in love because she has a new boyfriend already."

bite the bullet

Meaning: To adjust to unpleasant circumstances. For example, "The severe drought is forcing everybody to bite the bullet and use less water."

devil may care

Meaning: A free and careless attitude. For example, "He has a devil may care attitude when it comes to dating."

Lay an egg

Meaning: to make a mistake. For example, "Yesterday at the office I really laid an egg when I suggested that new company."

The three R’s

  • reading
  • (w)riting
  • (a)rithmetic