Curious about common phrases?

theSchlub

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I was thinking to myself: where do we get the phrase "15 minutes of fame"? I understand its about the fleeting nature of public favor or something, but does it come from a specific source? Is there a wild statistic that it stems from? Is there a book or something that coined it?

Any of you guys wonder about other common phrases or metaphors that everyone seems to use but no one seems to know where they came from?
 

Marter

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"It is what it is"

That is the ultimate cop-out. No idea where it came from, but I believe it was someone in sports who said it first.
 

The Eggplant

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Sure...among many others, "drop the ball." What the hell is so special about this ball anyway? Why do we care if it gets dropped? Are we presumed to be on some kind of precipice that makes picking the damn thing up again impossible?

Now, if the euphemism were to be drop the bomb, it might at least make a bit more sense...
 

Quaxar

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15 minutes of fame? I believe it may come from Andy Warhol saying "In the future everyone will be world-famous for 15 minutes" ...
But maybe that's just coincidence.
 

theSchlub

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Quaxar said:
15 minutes of fame? I believe it may come from Andy Warhol saying "In the future anyone will be world-famous for 15 minutes" ...
But maybe that's just coincidence.
Huh... neat. I should have known that, seeing how I'm at an art college and all...
 

theSchlub

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Arkvoodle said:
What the hell's so great about sliced bread?
The phrase comes from old advertisements from the 1920s about Sliced bread being "the greatest innovation since bread was wrapped".

So that means prior to 1920 people were saying "-best thing since wrapped bread?"
 

octafish

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The Eggplant said:
Sure...among many others, "drop the ball." What the hell is so special about this ball anyway? Why do we care if it gets dropped? Are we presumed to be on some kind of precipice that makes picking the damn thing up again impossible?

Now, if the euphemism were to be drop the bomb, it might at least make a bit more sense...
Dropping the ball results in a turnover, the other team has it, and it's your fault.