Sayings or phrases you thought you invented, but you didn't

For years I’ve had a saying I felt kinda clever for making up-- “one good thing about being a pessimist is you can only be pleasantly surprised”.

Just now I thought to google it to see if there was anything similar out there, and it turns out it’s almost word-for-word a saying by Ben Franklin-- " I’d rather be a pessimist because then I can only be pleasantly surprised."

I have no idea if I thought of it separately, or if I read the Franklin quote one day and subconsciously adopted it for myself. Probably the latter. Oh well, at least I steal from good sources.

BTW, I could’ve sworn there was a very similar thread topic to this recently, so I made a diligent effort to search for it, and had no luck. So I hope I’m not plagiarizing thread topics in addition to sayings! :grin:

When I was a child (pre-teen), I was sure I had invented the phrase, “None of your beeswax!” Then I saw it in a Beverly Cleary book that was written before I was born (and which I read a few years before).

The reason I remember this is that it rather shocked me, because I was so sure I had invented the phrase. It impressed on me the failability of human memory, even one’s own.

I made up “laziness is the mother of invention”. I just checked google and there are several examples where someone else has come up with it. This includes something similar by Agatha Christie…“I don’t think necessity is the mother of invention – invention, in my opinion, arises directly from idleness, possibly also from laziness. To save oneself trouble.”


But i did come up with “Suckquel”

Also invented Reincarnation but my mom told me i hadnt at age 6

“I need this like a third elbow.”

There is no way this is original with me, but a quick Google search isn’t disputing it, either.

I’m in a similar situation with the only example I can find.

As a kid in elementary school, when someone said “you got it”, my brother or I would sometimes reply with the schoolyard-chant-sounding “you got it, you got it, brush your teeth and then rot it”, but maybe that was just us, or else it was something someone else in town made up which never propagated any further, because I can’t find any other examples using Google.

Your post reminded me just last night my wife and I were watching a show in which identical twins with bright red hair made an appearance. I immediately yelled out “twingers!”. I thought it was a little funny, but she was neither amused nor impressed with my wit. She’s a tough audience though; if I make her laugh it realy feels like an achievement.

My wife is a redhead, and when she was in school she said she used to get taunted with “red, red, someone s#!t on your head!”. Which, as she pointed out, made little sense because if it’s that color something is not right medically. Googling shows nothing like that phrase so it was probably local to her school, maybe made up by one taunter.

re: Twingers (pronounced “twin-jerz”, right?)

I like it and will use it at every future opportunity. (Example: “Gilligan’s Island” episode with Eva Grubb.)

Yep, twins + gingers = twingers.

The Great Trumpkin.


Come to think of it, I don’t believe I’ve them anywhere else.

Back in my first year in college they handed out a little box of goodies to everyone in the dorm. Stuff like toothpaste, Nyquil and what was then called Vicks Daycare. We all started calling that Dayquil. They renamed it about 6 months later, so it must have been in the works.

When I was a kid, I thought I made up the word somersault, and was surprised when that really was the right word. I figure I’d just heard it before and didn’t realize it, as I do not even remember the “logic” where I came up with it. I do think it was summer at the time.

I later found out that most people use the term for the standing up version, but the one where you roll on the ground still seems to fit the definition.

I didn’t make up “somersault,” but I did invent the term “winterpepper” for a backwards somersault. (Winter is the opposite of summer, and pepper is the counterpart of salt. Get it?)


I call him “Frogald,” because of his eyeballs.


I Googled my phrase, but the usages cited are recent, in podcasts and the such.

When my kids were toddlers and into EVERYTHING, I got tired of trying to explain why they shouldn’t touch or take or taste everything within their reach. I “invented” a dandy mom-phrase for the occasion.

“If it’s not yours, LEAVE IT ALONE,”

They soon came to understand that phrase meant “drop it, or Mommy’s going to give me Hell.”

It got to the point where all I had to say is “If it’s not yours…” they would automatically answer “leave it alone!”

Show me a source using this phrase before 1987, and I will cede the copyright.


You may have made it up separately, but we used that word with the same meaning back in the late 50s early 60s.

As a little kid, we were stationed in Hawaii. We were transferred to Ohio when I was 8. Right before the move, I invented the phrase “day after tomorrow”. When we made the move, I was proud and excited to hear people there using “my” phrase and that it had swept the nation so quickly.

Eventually I saw it in a book that was older than me. I was very glad that I’d gone the modest route and not bragged about having come up with the phrase myself.

Calling that a phrase that you invented seems a bit odd to me. It’s just the natural way to put ordinary words together to describe something. It’s like saying you invented the phrase “a black cat” to refer to a cat that is black.

Or was that your point - the fact that as an 8 year old you found it worthy of being called an invention? I guess I also find it a bit surprising that you had made it to 8 without hearing it before.

The “red red someone shit on your head” is probably a variation of the elementary school insults that were done in my elementary school. It was based on the color of shirt the person was wearing. For red it was “red, red, you wet the bed”. Search for that and you will find insults for other colors.