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Don't Eat With Your Mouth Full

Where can we live but days?

steepholm steepholm
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Unstable Expressions
Interesting linguistic fact. Because as a child I associated the expressions "Too many cooks spoil the broth" and "Too many chiefs and not enough Indians" (I know, I know), for a long time I heard "sous-chef" as "Sioux chef".

Because the logical connection between "Spare the rod and spoil the child" is one of "A causes B", I heard "Feed a cold and starve a fever" the same way. It was confusing.

"Don't let good food go to waste" teeters perpetually on the brink of "Don't let good food go to waist", thus almost reversing its own meaning.

Any others?

I never knew what "You can't be too careful" meant. I took it as an admonition against the dangers of too much self-consciousness: you'd spill the coffee if you paid too much attention to your full cup as you crossed the room.

Then "A rolling stone gathers no moss." So should you roll or not?

And: "The best is the enemy of the good." So is the good not good enough, or is it?

I still don't know what the second one is supposed to mean.

I suppose a lot depends on one's attitude to moss. As an admirer of Japanese gardens I rather like it.

I think I heard it explained - but now I look at it again the explanation seems thin and unconvincing - that 'moss' somehow represents money, and it's a warning against fecklessness. But a stone that just sits there is hardly an inspiring role model.

I always heard the last expression as "Don't let the perfect be the enemy of the good," which at least gives us something of a steer.