Most Coloradans Are Confused By the Phrase ‘For the Birds’ – Are You?
You may know that Colorado's state bird is the Lark Bunting, but it looks like most of us do not know what the phrase, "For the birds" is all about.
Euphemisms are those things we say instead of something that may be offensive or harsh. "Passed away" instead of "died" for example, is a common euphemism that Coloradans use all the time. That one, however, doesn't have us searching the internet for its actual meaning.
Brace yourself, you may be about to learn something that you can share at parties and barbecues. When the chit-chat starts to get dry, you can pipe up and say, "Hey, you know that phrase, 'for the birds? I now know where it comes from."
The folks at Preply.com, who help people find tutoring, recently did a study about euphemisms. They surveyed about 1,000 people about how often people use them, which ones they use the most, and which type they use the most. The survey found that euphemisms about "bodily functions" are used the most, with ones about pregnancy being used the least.
Now, all I can hear are a bunch of euphemisms about bodily functions running through my head, how about you?
They also looked at all the states and tracked which euphemisms were being searched the most. Colorado is apparently searching the euphemism "for the birds" the most out of any of the other top 30 ones.
What Does It Mean?
Generally, "for the birds" refers to something unimportant.
Where Does it Come From?
According to Grammarist, the phrase dates back to World War II. The U.S. military coined the phrase:
The original phrase included a swear word, talking about birds pecking at horse manure for seeds.
In the world of the TV show, "The Good Place," you might say, "That bullshirt is for the birds."
The study found that Wyoming is confused by not only "kick the bucket," but "knock on wood," as well. At least we got away with only one.