DO 'have a gander' below and in so doing, it is hoped you do not think it is all just 'a load of codswallop’ as it seems all is not ‘tickety boo’ in the world of language…as these are just some of the expressions that are now regarded as ‘endangered’.


Endangered expressions?

Sir David Attenborough has not yet been called upon to present a new series on the subject, but a new poll of Britain's Endangered Sayings warns that they are at risk of becoming obsolete.


What tops the list?

The top 50 by Perspectus Global found that 78 per cent of us never use the phrase 'pearls before swine’ - meaning that someone is wasting their time by offering something valuable to someone undeserving. In second place, 71% never use the term 'nail your colours to the mast' - which dates back to the 17th century - and in the third spot, 71% said they never uttered the words 'colder than a witch's tit’, supposedly a saying that dates to the 1600s in Salem when witches were regarded as hags with wrinkly skin and icy blood.


What else?

The poll of a representative sample of 2,000 adults - aged 18 to 50 - found 70% never say 'pip pip' and 68% don't use 'know your onions', with the rest of the top 10 made up of 'a nod is as good as a wink', 'a stitch in time saves nine', 'ready for the knacker's yard', 'I've dropped a clanger' and 'a fly in the ointment’. Other expressions in the top 50 include 'a curtain twitcher', 'storm in a teacup', ‘keen as mustard’, ‘fell off the back of a lorry’, ‘raining cats and dogs’, ‘spend a penny’ and 'it cost a bomb’.


Pardon my French?

That’s in the list, as is 'see a man abut a dog' and 'selling like hot cakes’.


Falling out of fashion?

Ellie Glason, of Perspectus Global, said: "It's interesting to see from our research, how language evolves and changes over the years. It would seem that, many of the phrases which were once commonplace in Britain, are seldom used nowadays.”


How do we save them?

Sprinkling the sayings throughout your conversation is key to their survival. Social media has been quick to respond, saying 'everyone use these phrases as much as possible!’ GB News presenter Colin Brazier tweeted: “I commit to using one of these magnificently evocative examples of endangered British idiom on every show 'until Hell freezes over’.



Etymologist Susie Dent, of Countdown’s Dictionary Corner, posts words and phrases daily that are no longer common parlance. Her words of the week so far include 'thwankin', a 19th century term describing clouds that are gathering in thick succession and ‘thermopot’, an 18th century word for someone who downs a copious amount of hot drinks.