flew, flue, flu — homophones and idioms, Oh My!

Okay, I must confess — I flew the coop. Didn’t tell anyone I was leaving and escaped to South Carolina for the holidays. Had a great time, and will show and tell about Hilton Head and other holiday places on my other blog — Chapter 14’s Journey, which is on Google+. But for the moment, here, on my word blog with WordPress, I have to tell you the story about flew.

The night before I was to leave Columbia, S. Carolina, I took my family out to eat. Since we all enjoy Asian food, one of their favorite¬†restaurant is named Miyabi’s, and it is one of those restaurants where strangers sit together around a table and a chef cooks before your eyes. It was great. So, me being me, who talks to anyone who will talk back, I struck up a conversation with the guy to my right. We started talking about the distance and time between S. Carolina and Tampa. I told him it takes me (on a good day without traffic delays) about 9-10 hours.racing-car-279997_1280 He told me he could make it to Miami in less than 9 hours. I came back with, “you didn’t drive, you flew”. He laughed and admitted he drove fast.

And that is what prompted this blog post. If we were from a different country, or if English was our second language, that simple comment would have insinuated that you did not drive a car between S. Carolina and Tampa, you flew, as in an airplane. Which is not true at all! It really means that the driver was doing some heavy duty speeding to get from point A to point B.

Which brought me to telling you that I flew the coop. Here, flew means to escape. Now, coop could mean where they keep the chickens, or it could mean jail (as the word was used in the late 18th century), but for me, it simply means I got away and didn’t tell my readers I was going. It could also mean I left in a hurry, but either way you want to look at it, I got away.

It seems that my time away flew by. Isn’t that always the truth when you are enjoying yourself. There is never enough time. time-fliesAnd really, where does that time go? I do know it never comes back, so I savor the moment. But time does not fly when someone flies off the handle. Oh, I do not like when someone gets angry, when I witness someone who flew off the handle.

Think about that. Have you ever seen anyone fly off the handle? First of all, what handle? And then, who can fly? How in the world do people from other countries figure out what we are meaning by these phrases we use?

Then, with this word, which is a homophone (words that sound the same but are spelled differently and have different meanings), we have flew, which could mean the past tense of “to fly” or it could mean to increase speed or it could mean to escape or it could mean to become angry (depending on which phrase you use as I have outlined above). Then, there is flu, which is an abbreviated form of saying the influenza, oh, that awful stomach virus.dscf2134sm Or it could mean that duct needed to blow the hot air from the furnace. Or, it could mean a fishing net or having to do with an organ pipe. Now that should really confuse everyone, let alone the people who do not have English as their first language.

I love words and all the crazy meanings they have.

I am back. I hope your holiday was good and you are ready to start a new year. I’ll be posting again on Tuesday. Until then…have a great weekend….





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2 responses to “flew, flue, flu — homophones and idioms, Oh My!


    U R contemporary for me interesting perspective of what I experience, is it age we share or the age we share.

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