The Etymology of Guns

From the Contra Costra Times, an enlightening piece on the violence laden and gun ridden language we use every day. and how that might alter our opinion of them:

We often value the “straight shooter,” yet are wary of those who “shoot their mouths off,” those who “shoot from the hip” or glibly end an argument with a “parting shot.” We caution colleagues to avoid “shooting themselves in the foot,” and counsel them not to “shoot the messenger.”

Without suspecting what drives our language, we are “blown away” by adorable photos of loved ones. At the movies, many audiences are thrilled by “shoot-’em-up,” “double-barreled action” scenes, or are excited by car chases where actors “gun” their engines.

I often ask friends to “shoot me” an email and I’ve encouraged job seekers to give an interview their “best shot” and “stick to their guns” during salary

discussions. And if a job is offered, I might congratulate them for doing a “bang-up” job.

In sensitive business negotiations, I’ve advised patience, urging clients to “troubleshoot” solutions, but to avoid “jumping the gun” and to be aware of “loaded” questions.” To get the biggest “bang for the buck,” I’ve recommended bringing the “big guns” to the table. We look for “silver bullet” solutions, hoping for “bulletproof” results. And when success is in sight, we say: “You’re on target,” or “you’re going great guns!”

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