As Oct 9 is World Sight Day, and the month of October is dedicated to World Blindness Awareness, check out some popular phrases featuring the blind.
AS Oct 9 is World Sight Day, and the whole month of October is dedicated to World Blindness Awareness Month, check out some popular phrases featuring the blind. The blind leading the blind A proverb used to describe a situation where someone with no knowledge is trying to instruct others.
This comes from the Bible, Matthew 15:14, where Jesus Christ says of the Pharisees, a powerful group of scholars, “They be blind leaders of the blind. And if the blind lead the blind, both shall fall into a ditch.”
Jesus called the Pharisees hypocrites on several occasions. However, the Pharisees were also instrumental in replacing the bloody sacrifices that were part of temple ceremonies with prayer and study.
Example: Jason is practically illiterate yet he’s tutoring some dyslexic kids. Talk about the blind leading the blind. To be blindsided To be taken by surprise, usually not in a good way.
In the 1600s, a blind side was an unguarded area – a spot where you could sneak up on someone undetected. Later, the blind side was the side of the face where an eye was missing, or a spot where you couldn’t see due to some eye trauma.
In 1959, the blind side was used by rugby players to describe the side nearest the touch line. In 1968, American footballers began using the term to mean a surprise tackle or block. They strung the two words together. In the spirit of cousinly rivalry, unkind Brits say this is because Americans can’t spell.
Example: Elin Nordegren said she was blindsided by her husband’s affair. Blind as a bat To have poor vision.
Bats are not blind but most can’t see very well. Instead of relying on their eyesight, bats give off high-pitched continuous calls when flying. They spot the position of potential prey and obstacles from the way the sound waves bounce.
Whales, porpoises, and shrews also use echolocation, but you never hear of someone being as blind as a porpoise or as shortsighted as a shrew. However, a thousand years ago, as blind as a mole and as blind as a beetle were common expressions.
Example: Now into my 40th birthday, I’ve become as blind as a bat. Blind drunk To be incredibly drunk.
This phrase comes from 10th century Old English. The original image implied a stage of drunkenness where you can’t see properly.
In the United States, illegal bars are nicknamed blind pigs, presumably because the moonshine or illegal homemade corn whisky made you blind drunk.
Drinking has always been a popular pastime in Britain, so there are plenty of synonyms. These include intoxicated which is formal and popular with doctors; under the influence which is used by the police; and the informal sloshed, high, smashed, pie-eyed, tight, plastered, stewed, and zonked, and the slightly girlish-sounding squiffy.
Example: Dizzy and Jack went clubbing last night and came home blind drunk. To turn a blind eye To ignore something deliberately.
Admiral Nelson, a famous British sailor who won many important battles in the late 1700s and early 1800s is said to have inspired this phrase.
Despite having lost an arm in 1794 and an eye in 1797, Nelson continued to fight. On April 2,1801, while battling at Copenhagen, Nelson’s boss admiral Sir Hyde Parker thought Nelson was losing the battle.
Parker sent Nelson a signal to retreat by raising a specially coded flag. However, Nelson put his telescope to his blind eye and pretended not to see it. An hour later Nelson had won the battle. There were 1,000 British dead and 6,000 Danish casualties.
Example: Lim has three-hour lunches and the boss just turns a blind eye. In the kingdom of the blind, the one-eyed man is king A proverb meaning that in a situation where people have no knowledge, a little understanding can make you an important person.
This was a popular proverb in Ancient Greece. It’s uncertain when it was first translated into English; however, it probably had a huge boost when it appeared in Adages, a collection published by the Dutch scholar Desiderius Erasmus in 1500.
It’s a popular theme with writers who enjoy writing twistin-the-tale stories. For one example, check out The Country Of The Blind by H.G. Wells. It’s in the public domain and freely available online.
Example: In the United States, John couldn’t get on the school baseball team but in Mogadishu, he’s a coach! You know what they say, in the kingdom of the blind, the one-eyed man is king.