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FGC Goal #1: American Idiom #20: TO HAVE A SHORT SHELF LIFE

Current Goal: Learn 50 American Phrases in 25 Days!

There are plenty of English idiomatic expressions originating in practical life and then being used as figurative speech.

Here’s a couple of typical ones:

  • I couldn’t put my finger on it – this expression is used to describe one’s inability to clearly identify the issue or a specific detail but its origin is clearly of a practical nature; if you don’t see something, you can’t put your finger on it!
  • Barking up the wrong tree – this idiom was obviously coined while observing dogs chasing cats and then barking up the wrong tree while the cat had actually slunk away to a different location; in terms of human interaction this idiom means totally missing the point.
  • Beating around the bush – this idiomatic expression simply means to avoid the subject – just like you’d beat around the bush in real life and avoid to come out in the open and face the problem!

Today’s American English expression – TO HAVE A SHORT SHELF LIFE – also originates in something practical, namely – product sell-by date on a grocery store shelf – and just like the above examples, it’s used figuratively.

Just about anything that lasts for a short period of time HAS A SHORT SHELF LIFE.

  • Celebrity marriages – the hell, some have divorced after a few months!
  • Popular gadgets – nowadays technology develops at a breathtaking speed and yesterday’s iPhone is a thing of past when a new model is launched to the general public.
  • Hollywood blockbusters – can you remember what movies were topping the chart six months ago? I strongly doubt that! New movie sequels are being cranked out every week, so no wonder your typical blockbuster HAS A SHORT SHELF LIFE these days!

Thanks for tuning in,

Robby 😉

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