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The Science
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Common Phrases that Grew from Grass

 

 

There is a lot of grass in this world and while you might think that would make it an uninteresting point of interest, it has actually generated an extreme amount of conversational clout as a result. Yes, although slightly mundane on the surface, here are a number of memorable phrases, idioms and lyrics that would not exist without green grass.

“The Grass is Always Greener on the Other Side (of the Fence)”

Perhaps the most famous of all grassy sayings, this common phrase sums up the idea that other peoples’ circumstances are always better than our own. Interestingly enough, this seemingly American term of envy stems from a Latin proverb (Erasmus of Rotterdam in 1545) saying, "Fertilior seges est alieno semper in arvo" or "The corne in an other man’s ground semeth euer more fertyll and plentifull then doth oure owne."

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“Like Watching Grass Grow”

If you’re into passive pastimes but the indoor act of watching paint dry isn’t quite your thing, you might see if watching grass grow is more your style. Despite the fact that both of these sound like absolutely riveting experiences (yes, that’s sarcasm), no matter how you cut it, both are actually ways of saying that something is remarkably boring. “Wow, that’s as exciting as watching grass grow.”

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“A Snake in the Grass”

Referring to an unassuming threat or menace, a snake in the grass can be dated back to the beginning of mankind. Even before the warning from a Chinese proverb ("he who was bitten by a snake avoids tall grass") and a Roman poet ("a snake lurks in the grass"), the original cautionary tale dates back to the story of Adam and Eve, in the third chapter of Genesis, where a serpent (The Devil) tempts Eve into eating the forbidden fruit.

“Grassroots”

A fitting term used to describe local-level political movements or a type of gorilla street marketing, grassroots efforts aptly received their name because they are small-scale endeavors that, much like grass, start organically but then infectiously spread as they gain support. Coined in 1907 by Senator Albert Jeremiah Beveridge of Indiana, he said, “this [Progressive] Party has come from the grass roots. It has grown from the soil of people's hard necessities."

“Smoking Grass”

Speaking of politics, as the controversial ballot to legalize marijuana is circling our country, we are starting to hear this one single plant referred to by a number of pseudonyms. In addition to being called cannabis, pot, weed, Mary Jane, green, herb, bud, lettuce, roach and chronic, marijuana is frequently called grass. Of course, it can be burned, blazed, torched, toked, lit-up or puffed, but most people choose to smoke their grass.

“Don’t Let the Grass Grow Under Your Feet”

Whenever somebody is taking way too long to make a decision (or to do anything really), it’s an appropriate time to say, “Hey, don’t let the grass grow under your feet.” Although Billy Madison might say, “T-T-Today Junior,” the sentiment is essentially the same – just do it already!!

 

“Bluegrass Music”

Beginning in 1939, there was an extremely innovative band out of Kentucky that went by the name of the Blue Grass Boys. Known for their signature sound that comprised of a unique blend of 5-stringed instruments such as banjo, fiddle, mandolin, guitar and upright bass, they created an acoustic sound like nobody had ever heard before and, as a result, an entire genre of music was coined.

“Grassy Knoll”

While the theory of a second gunman on the grassy knoll may never be proven, the long-winded debate has left behind a simple idiom nonetheless. Yes, these two words, originating from the conspiracy theories that arose from the assassination of John F. Kennedy in 1963, are now synonyms for any kind of cover-up, conspiracy and/or suspicion.

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Musical Mentions of Grass (Lyrics):

Across the years, countless musicians have sung about the grass, however, because this is our list, here is a small sampling of some of our absolute favorites. Guns-N-Roses – “Take me down to Paradise City where the grass is green and the girls are pretty!” Nitty Gritty Dirt Band – “You and me going fishing in the dark, lying on our backs and counting the stars where the cool grass grows.” Tim McGraw – “I’m gonna live where the green grass grows, watch my corn pop up in rows and every night be tucked in close to you.”

Johnny Cash – “It sure is nice to touch the green, green grass of home.” Katy Perry – “I know a place where the grass is really greener.” George Jones – “As long as I’m alive, I know I can’t be free … so I’ll be over you when the grass grows over me.” Last, but certainly not least, we’re not going to narrow it down to a specific lyric but let’s just say that Willie Nelson and Snoop Lion (AKA Snoop Dogg) are big, big fans of the grass (see the list above for the appropriate variety of grass). We hope you’ve enjoyed this list of common phrases, idioms and lyrics that grew from grass. May it be a lesson to you that there is a lot more to grass than meets the eye!