Most of the expressions we use every day have their roots in the past when people’s lives were drastically different. Some of them make sense in a certain way, but some do not unless you know the story behind them. Most idioms don’t have one clear origin point, but we’ve gathered together some of the most probable explanations for why we say the things we do.
1) Wrong End of the Stick
Before typewriters and computers, the printing press made literacy a more accessible goal and gave power to authors to spread ideas. It was much easier than hand-copying each page, but still required a lot of effort. The typesetter would have the complicated task of lining up the letters upside down and backwards in order to fill the stick with the correct type before it was run through the press with ink on it. An apprenticed profession, a newcomer might get the wrong end of the stick if he misaligned the type or held the stick the wrong way around.
2) Sleep Tight
Before pillow-top mattresses and metal springs, mattresses were filled with straw or feathers and laid upon a wooden bed frame with rope under-supports. There were special tools to tighten the bed cords, which would be needed often as the bed would quickly begin to sag without proper adjustments. Tradition has it that if you were a welcomed guest, then your host would tighten your bed cords every night. And, if they wanted you leave, the host would neglect this duty, thus giving you a polite signal that your welcome was worn out as your bed sagged into the night. If you sleep tight, you are in a place people where want you and have the best accommodations they can offer.
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