Posted by ESC on October 24, 2002
In Reply to: Stubborn as a mule posted by Bookworm on October 24, 2002
: : : In my english class I have to write this paper on proverbs and back them up, either prove or disprove them. I am having the hardest time so if anybody has any ideas on how I could do this i would really appricate it.
: : : Food for thought
: : : In a nutshell
: : : stubborn as a mule
: : For starters, none of the three phrases you listed are actually proverbs. "Food for thought" is a metaphor. And the other two are what RBerg?
: : A PROVERB is a piece of practical wisdom expressed in homely, concrete terms. For example: 'A closed mouth catches no flies.' (".synonymous with an ADAGE - is a short, popular saying that expresses a truth or insight; for example, 'a word to the wise is sufficient.") From "When is a Pig a Hog?: A Guide to Confoundingly Related English Words" by Bernice Randall (Galahad Books, New York, 1991).
: : To disprove or back up a proverb, you'd have to discuss
whether the "wisdom" is actually true.
: Isn't that a simile? (Stubborn as a mule)
I am ashamed to say I don't know. All my education drained out of my head. From these definitions, I don't think so. But don't go by me.
-- a figure of speech comparing two unlike things that is often introduced by
like or as (as in cheeks like roses). Metaphor -- a figure of speech in which
a word or phrase literally denoting one kind of object or idea is used in place
of another to suggest a likeness or analogy between them (as in drowning in money).
FOOD FOR THOUGHT - "Something to ponder; a provocative idea. It is a classic metaphor: food is crucial for the body, and the mind works best when given things to chew on. Robert Southey wrote, in 'A Tale of Paraguay' : 'A lively tale, and fraught with.food for thought.'" From "The Dictionary of Cliches" by James Rogers (Ballantine Books, New York, 1985).
STUBBORN (OBSTINATE) AS A MULE - "Ornery. 'With no good reason, the mule is a proverbial type of obstinacy,' the 'Oxford English Dictionary' says. Many a mule driver would dispute the statement. If a mule does not want to go, it takes a considerable effort to get it going. At any rate, the impression of mulish obstinacy is of long standing. Maria Edgeworth's 'Absentee' says: 'She was as obstinate as a mule on that point.'" From "Dictionary of Cliches" by James Rogers (Ballantine Books, New York, 1985).
A NUTSHELL - From the archives: Entry for "Nutshell", _Dictionary of Phrase and
Fable_, E. Cobham Brewer, 1898: "The Iliad in a nutshell. Pliny tells us that
Cicero asserts that the whole Iliad was written on a piece of parchment which
might be put into a nutshell. Lalanne describes, in his Curiosités Bibliographiques,
an edition of Rochefoucault's Maxims, published by Didot in 1829, on pages one
inch square, each page containing 26 lines, and each line 44 letters. Charles
Toppan, of New York, engraved on a plate one-eighth of an inch square 12,000 letters.
The Iliad contains 501,930 letters, and would therefore occupy 42 such plates
engraved on both sides. Huet has proved by experiment that a parchment 27 by 21
centimètres would contain the entire Iliad, and such a parchment would go into
a common-sized nut; but Mr. Toppan's engraving would get the whole Iliad into
half that size. George P. Marsh says, in his Lectures, he has seen the entire
Arabic Koran in a parchment roll four inches wide and half an inch in diameter.
(See ILIAD.) 1
To lie in a nutshell. To be explained in a few words; to be capable of easy solution."