Topic – Cool As a Cucumber

Share to Brightspace Continue with Brightspace

Read the Following Selection

Read the following selection, or click on the play button below to listen aloud.

Cool As a Cucumber

Did you know the inside of a cucumber is often much cooler than its outside? No wonder that for hundreds of years, people have said someone is “cool as a cucumber” if the person stays calm no matter what is happening.

There are many expressions about food that people use to explain situations or pass along advice. Most people know what a cucumber is and that makes the phrase easy to understand and remember.

How many of these other food expressions do you know?

An Apple a Day Keeps the Doctor Away

Apples contain lots of vitamin C, clean your teeth, and keep you healthy in lots of other ways. Apples are very good for you. That is why parents sometimes encourage children to eat the fruit by saying it will cut back on visits to the doctor.

People have known for a long time that apples help keep you in top shape. This rhyming expression is a simplification of “Eat an apple on going to bed, and you’ll keep the doctor from earning his bread.”

The Big Cheese

No one knows for sure how “the big cheese” came to mean a very important person. About 150 years ago, “cheesy” meant anything that was first-rate, but today it means something that is cheap or corny.

Some people think the expression comes from the Persian or Hindi word chiz, which means “thing.” About 100 years ago, the word “big” was added to describe wealth and power.

Couch Potato

If you have been sitting motionless watching television for a long time, has someone ever called you a couch potato? It means you are spending too much time doing nothing and you should get up and get some exercise.

Old televisions had tubes inside them and potatoes are a type of plant known as a tuber, so that is how the two became connected. Most people sit on a sofa or couch to watch Television, so that was added to the phrase. This expression has only been around since the mid-1970s.

There’s No Use Crying Over Spilled Milk

This is another expression that people have used for hundreds of years, but no one remembers where it came from. Here is one suggestion: Spilling or wasting any food was a bad thing long ago when people had little to eat. But some families left out a gift for fairies or sprites and that treat was often cold, creamy milk. So spilling milk could be seen as a good thing since it could make the fairies happy and bring good luck. Besides, there was no point being upset over something that had already happened and could not be changed.

Now, show what you know!

Complete some questions about the reading selection by clicking “Begin Questions” below.