Think in English with Adah

A TEFL blog: You have to train yourself to think in English

A Phrase A Week: Lo and behold!

Meaning

When you tell someone about something surprising that happened, you can say “Lo and behold!”

 

Origin

The word ‘lo’ as used in this phrase is a shortening of ‘look’. So, lo and behold! has the meaning of look! – behold!.

Something not very far removed from lo and behold appears in the Bible, Genesis 15:3 (King James Version):

“And Abram said, Behold, to me thou hast given no seed: and, lo, one born in my house is mine heir.”

The complete phrase is first recorded in an 1808 letter in the Correspondence 1787–1870, of Queen Victoria’s lady of the bedchamber – Lady Sarah Spencer Lyttelton:

“Hartington… had just told us how hard he had worked all the morning… when, lo and behold! M. Deshayes himself appeared.”

Examples

1.      I went into a bar just next to our hotel and, lo and behold, who should I see sitting there but Jim Gibson!

2.      Carrie tried her luck at the lottery and, lo and behold, won1500! 

A Phrase A Week: To save one’s bacon

Meaning

If something saves your bacon, it saves you from failure or difficulties. You can also say that someone saves your bacon if they save you from a lot of trouble.

 

Examples

1.  You saved my bacon there. I’d probably have lost my job if you hadn’t been ready with an explanation.

2.  It’s a short book but it could save your bacon when you’re traveling overseas.