You know what they say – if at first you don’t succeed, try, try again. If your New Year’s resolution goes sideways, don’t beat yourself up. Instead, keep one of these catchy, timeless idioms in mind to encourage self-improvement in the year to come.
This Wild West saying is actually a shortened form of the expression, “Get back on the horse that bucked you.” As you can imagine, taming wild horses led to many a cowboy landing in the mud — but they learned to pick themselves up and give it another go, just like you can. On a similar note, “back in the saddle” means the exact same thing, so giddy up, partners!
As you might expect, this prudent name has financial origins. In fact, it’s tied to the early days of the London Stock Exchange, around the turn of the 19th century. The full expression was actually “cut short your losses” and was one of political economist David Ricardo’s three golden rules for investing. The phrase’s meaning has since extended to suggest letting go of any investment — time, money, love, you name it — before you get burned.
This old-timey expression is sterner in nature, originally used as a reprimand to act in a more serious and mature manner. It stems from an aviation command, with air traffic controllers or teachers instructing pilots to get their planes in order.
Sometimes all it takes is one little step forward — or inside — to gain traction. It comes from an old-school sales tactic employed when door-to-door salesmen would literally wedge their foot in someone’s door frame so they couldn’t fully close the door on them, or whatever they were selling. Today’s meaning is a little less aggressive, suggesting you’ve opened a window to opportunity for yourself.
This seemingly optimistic expression dates all the way back to 406 B.C. and has a slightly dark origin story. It essentially means that everyone — no matter their status — will have some future moment of glory (even if it takes the form of revenge). And revenge was certainly part of the original proverb, as a Greek playwright was killed by dogs set upon him by a rival. Today, most of us just use it as a promise of hope — you may be unlucky one day, but tomorrow’s a new one!
Fortune favors the bold, as they say — and this expression is a different take on the same feeling. Essentially, you’re suggesting that risks are necessary for advancement. History has proven the longevity of this idiom to be true, given its origins all the way back to the 1300s (although it first appeared in print in 1624) and continued notoriety today.
Many of us have embraced this phrase to inspire the feeling that if can you survive one tough day — or weather a storm, to use another idiom — there’s always tomorrow to take on your foes. You may be amused to find out it’s actually just a snippet of a Greek rhyme composed by Menander, a comic playwright: “He who fights and runs away, lives to fight another day.” Looks like Menander and David Ricardo had something in common when it comes to losses.