Dead as a doornail…heard the expression? It originates in the Middle Ages. Door carpenters used nails without heads that, once hammered into a door, were unable to be removed or re-used, thus “dead” nails.
Baker’s Dozen…another way of saying you have 13 of something. In the Middle Ages, bakers would often try to cheat their customers by shorting their ingredients to save money. Regulations were put into place to prevent this, and the punishments were harsh. Offending bakers could be flogged, pilloried or fined substantial amounts. Since weight was the determining factor, bakers began to include a 13th loaf or cake to ensure they were complying with the law.
Beyond the Pale…referring to a social reject or outlaw who has been forced beyond the paling fences that reinforce the earth works of a town, castle, or fortress. The person was therefore no longer protected by the community and left at the mercy of other outlaws.
Bring home the bacon…A whole pig or side of bacon was a 12th century reward for the sworn testimony that the past year of a marriage was spent without quarrel or regret.
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