Ok, so we’re driving in the car for a 13 hour car ride back at Christmas time. We have a 7 week old baby at the time, I’m extremely tired and to top it all off I have a husband that likes to make fun of me. Not in a mean vindictive sort of way, but he likes to none the less. We are having some conversation and I use the phrase “faunching at the bit” and my husband is like “what did you just say?” I repeat myself and as he’s laughing he says you mean “chomping at the bit?” No, “faunching” I say though I’m starting to laugh and have a hard time getting it out. When I get really tired, hence the 13 hour car ride and 6 week old baby information, I get really giddy and laugh uncontrollably at some really stupid things. We are both laughing hysterically, he tells me I’m delusional and that there is no such phrase. We end up calling my Mom as soon as we get to an area with cell phone coverage because I know this is a phrase I grew up with. She indeed says it’s a phrase, but she and my two sisters can not come up with proof in the dictionary, the whole time my husband has this “I told you so” look on his face about the whole thing and it has since been a topic of lighthearted ridicule. So the other day I decided to try and do a little research (since that is my profession and all) and found this online Urban Dictionary (be careful what you look up here though, urban is right!). It says:
Faunch: verb, meaning to rage and storm, to fight against fate. "Faunching at the bit" implies waiting in nervous agitation and impatience, like a wild horse that is fighting against a harness. Probably derives from Irish "fonn taodach" - to quote Daniel Cassidy's book, "How the Irish Invented Slang" (p.139) "an impulsive frame of mind, jittery excitation, a fierce humor", taodach meaning "excited, fidgety, quick-tempered." (Cassidy's entry was not defining "faunch", but "fantod." I made the leap myself.
I was faunching at the bit to drive my uncle's new Mustang.
So dear readers, faunching may not be in your standard dictionary but this is good enough for me. I will now be “faunching at the bit” to let my husband know I’m not really an idiot!
Have you ever thought about where some of the phrases you use come from? Here are a few that I’ve wondered about and decided to look up:
• Happy as a clam…seriously how does one know that a clam is happy?
• Close, but no cigar…if I get any closer do I have to have a cagar?
• Speak of the Devil…hopefully no devil’s are appearing around here!
• There’s more than one way to skin a cat…this one was tricky, there doesn’t seem to be a consensus on it’s origins, but this is the best I could find!
This was actually kind of fun finding out where some common phrases come from. So what are some phrases you use?