10 Funny Old Sayings That People Say Wrong / Get Confused By

We’re about to go over some funny old sayings that people say wrong or get confused by. First, we will start with the latter. If you’re bewildered by some of these phrases, well, then let’s clear things up.


5 Funny Old Sayings That Confuse People

Alright, here are 5 funny sayings that make some people scratch their heads.

#1 – You Can’t Have Your Cake and Eat It Too

This expression is over 450 years old. Why does this phrase puzzles people? Some get confused because they don’t understand why they can’t do both things, that is, why they can’t have their cake and eat it too. To better understand this phrase, try switching the words “have” and “eat” so that it says “you can’t eat your cake and have it too.”

Funny old sayings, have your cake and eat it too.

Still don’t get it? Basically, the reason you can’t do both is because they contradict each other. Yes, if you eat the cake, then you wouldn’t have it anymore. So you can only pick one of the options. That said, if you really want to show this old saying who’s boss, just eat half the cake instead. That way, you’ll both have eaten it and still have it.

#2 – A Friend In Need Is a Friend Indeed

This expression can be interpreted in multiple ways, thus making it confusing. For example, does it go “a friend in need is a friend indeed” or “a friend in need is a friend in deed“?

On top of that, some wonder why a “friend in need” would make them a “friend indeed”? Well, to clear things up, let’s add a few words to the phrase: “A friend (who helps when you’re) in need is a (true) friend indeed.” There, that looks better. This phrase basically means that if you’re in need of help, true friends will be there for you.

#3 – A Watched Pot Never Boils

This is one of those funny old sayings that leave some people bewildered because they take it literally. Obviously, a watched pot will boil. The meaning of this phrase is that when we wait for things to happen (in this case, waiting for a pot to boil), it can feel like it’s taking forever to happen.

#4 – It Takes More Muscles to Frown Than to Smile

There does not appear to be any solid information that confirms this statement. After doing a little research on this saying, the sources I came across basically said: “It takes (X) amount of muscles to frown and (Y) amount of muscles to smile.” The problem? The “X” and “Y” numbers varied depending on the source.

This phrase is something I’ve heard off and on while growing up and after finally looking it up, I’m still confused; I am a little disappointed.

#5 – It’s Always Darkest Before The Dawn

This saying is similar to #3 in that people sometimes take it too literally, thus it doesn’t make sense. What it means, though, is that things feel their worst just before they take a turn for the better.

5 Old Sayings / Terms That People Say Wrong

Here are 5 funny old sayings and terms that people say wrong.

#1 – I Couldn’t Care Less

This is a classic phrase that frequently gets used incorrectly. For example, a lot of people end up saying “I could care less,” which means they do, in fact, care and it is possible for them to care less; this is usually the opposite of what they are trying to say. Hence, the correct way to say this phrase is “I couldn’t care less,” which means it is impossible to care any less about something.

#2 – Bull In a China Shop

funny sayings, a bull in a china shop.
Some mistake this phrase as “a bowl in a china shop.”

A bull in a china shop sounds like a recipe for disaster. A big animal like that would break everything around it as it clumsily walks through the shop, or at least, that’s the implication. This old saying is used as a simile when referring to a clumsy person. So how do people say it wrong? Because However, some incorrectly think the phrase goes “a bowl in a china shop.” I can understand the confusion since the words “bull” and “bowl” sound the same, but the misinterpreted form doesn’t make much sense given the idiom’s meaning.

#3 – Getting Off Scot-Free

Here is another phrase I’m going to put on this list of funny sayings. People say this wrong because they think it goes “getting off scotch free.” It’s hard to say what the word “scotch” would mean in their minds, but in any case, the actual term is “getting off scot-free.” What’s a scot? It’s basically the equivalent to modern tax. Hence, getting off scot-free meant getting away tax-free. However, today this saying means to escape from a situation without harm.

#4 – For All Intents and Purposes

Often this is misused as “for all intensive purposes.” While your purposes may be intense, the correct way to say it is “for all intents and purposes.” It basically means that “X” is almost like “Y.” E.g., My desk is, for all intents and purposes, a table.

Other synonyms for it include: nearly, virtually, more or less, practically.

#5 – Cole Slaw

Okay, this isn’t much of a saying, it’s more a word, but I decided to include it anyway since people commonly say it as “cold slaw.” The actual term, cole slaw, is a salad consisting of raw cabbage, mayonnaise, and other sliced vegetables. It comes from the Dutch term “koolsla” meaning cabbage salad.


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