Pony Express

What does pony express mean?

The original Pony Express doesn’t exist any more, but the phrase is still used.

The Pony Express was an American express (fast) mail delivery service, using horse riders, instead of stagecoaches. 

The service was used for 18 months in 1860 and 1861 between the east and west coast of America. It was fast, reducing the delivery time from months down to 10 days. The fastest delivery from to Fort Kearny in Nebraska to California was only 7 days and 17 hours. 

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Happy as a Clam

Happy as a clam is a colloquial expression – a simile to describe a happy person. If a person is said to be ‘as happy as a clam at high water’ it means that they are content and satisfied. 

What is the origin of this expression? The website The Phrase Finder believes that it may have originated in America in 1833 in the book The Harpe’s Head – A Legend of Kentucky – “It never occurred to him to be discontented … He was as happy as a clam.” General Robert E Lee used the phrase too in the 1830s.

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You Are What You Eat: Why the Flamingo is Pink

People often say “You are what you eat.” What does this phrase mean? It means that the food you eat makes a difference to your health. The phrase began in 1826 when French lawyer Anthelme Brillat-Savarin wrote it, but it became more popular in America from 1923 when it appeared in the Bridgeport Telegraph newspaper.

The phrase is generally not used for animals. However, for the Flamingo it is true, and that is why the Flamingo is pink.

The Flamingo has orange-pink feathers. The orange-pink colour comes from the food it eats. 

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Coming up for air

What does it mean if you are coming up for air?

Coming up for air means to take a breather, to have a rest, or to take a break.

Fish have gills, so they do not need to come to the surface of the water to breathe. But many animals that live in and near water have lungs and they must come to the surface of water to breathe.

Therefore, when animals are coming up for air, they are taking a breath.

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Chew the cud

What does chew the cud mean?

To chew the cud means to chew something over and over again.

For humans, it means to think about something over and over again, or to meditate on something – and in the end, the result is a decision or an answer to a problem.