Origin of the Phrase “Nose to the Grindstone”

July 24, 2011

Oh dear god, I’ve finally reached the end of these old blog posts (the ones I wished to actually keep). Here you have it–post number six of six that I have pulled from the murky depths of my former blog, washed off, and set here.

This one is from 2006. Pause with me to see if you can remember it. Back before our hovercrafts and our robot nannies. Back when we still lived on the ground. Before our food was given to us in the form of small, flavored pills. Ah, 2006. How I faintly remember what a tree looked like.

Okay, moving on. Here’s my final post of yesteryear, a snippet of me in 2006. I give you Origin of the Phrase “Nose to the Grindstone”:

The phrase “put your nose to the grindstone” is commonly used today to mean “get to work.” Its origin has been traced back 5,000 years (by the etymological research department of UCLA) to when humanity relied on grindstones to sharpen all their tools, teeth, and household items. Carpenters of yore had made a startling finding about the sedimentary stone sandstone, and thus began using it solely to make the grindstones that sharpened their tools and other items.

The properties of sandstone were first discovered by renowned carpenter and gymnast William Van Metermeyer, who unearthed the fact that the stone, when grinding against something else, gave off a surprisingly invigorating lavender aroma (for which the stone is now best known). Carpenters began using it to build grindstones, because they found that it helped them to better focus and to stay more alert. When they would begin to feel fatigued, they would simply put their noses close to the grindstone and inhale the scent of the stone for energy, and then get back to work (hence the phrase).

As a related side note, this was also the birth of the popular new age practice of aromatherapy.

…this is all true.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: