A Bone to Pick, Born Yesterday, Both Feet on the Ground: American English Idioms #24


A “bone to pick” is a quarrel, dispute, or disagreement. The term’s origin dates back to the Bible. In Genesis 32:22 Jacob wrestled with an angel and during the struggle he grasped the angel’s thigh and injured it. Afterwards, Jacob called it a “bone of contention.” The term “bone to pick” was adopted by early English settlers as they attempted to describe what happened in Genesis 32:22.

The phrase “bone to pick” refers to a dispute between two parties in which each party is prepared to argue that they are correct. The term is often used in friendly disagreements when the participants expect that the outcome will end in an agreement with no hard feelings.

A bone to pick refers to a minor disagreement between people that they’re not willing to let go of.
It’s typically used in the vernacular when referring to petty school playground fights, when someone is unwilling to forgive or forget.
The phrase usually implies that there is some kind of trivial argument that isn’t worth the trouble, but still causes tension between the parties involved.

An idiom that means to criticize someone, usually in a persistent and intransigent manner.
The phrase “to pick a bone” can be taken to mean that there is a disagreement between the speaker and the person that they are disagreeing with. To pick a bone is not favorable behavior and should be avoided because it can lead to an escalation of the disagreement.


The idea of being born yesterday is to have little or no experience. This may be due to the lack of memories, knowledge, or wisdom that comes with age. For this reason it can be difficult when someone with little experience does not know what they want and when they want it. They may also lack in their ability to successfully execute tasks that require more than just a basic understanding of the task.

A phrase that is used to signify that someone is new to a situation and may lack knowledge.

A phrase that is used to signify that someone is new to a situation and may lack knowledge, born yesterday (and for this reason lacks valuable knowledge or experience) has been used in colloquial speech since the late 1800s.

Born yesterday is a term describing a person who is too young to have any form of knowledge or experience that has been gained over time, and thus can seem naive or ignorant. This term originated in the United States, but also has usage in the United Kingdom, especially with reference to younger people who are not well-informed about current events, political debates, etc.

A born-yesterday is a person who knows very little about something.


Both feet on the ground means that someone is grounded and stable. This can also mean that they are stable in their own beliefs and opinions, and not easily swayed by others. It can also indicate someone who is level-headed and logical, who does not get upset over small things.

A person with both feet on the ground is not having anxiety and is taking a rational perspective.

Both feet on the ground is a term that describes the stance of someone who is standing with his or her weight equally distributed between both feet. A person will often be described as “having his/her two feet on the ground” if he or she is thinking more logically and does not get carried away easily. Examples of this are when someone is feeling emotional, sad, or angry.

The concept of groundedness refers to the state in which one’s feet are on the floor, or alternatively, an individual is not experiencing a state of floating or flying. Groundedness is important for both people and cultures all around the world. It often refers to being well-connected to life in a concrete way, through one’s physical life, rituals, surroundings, and other people.

4 thoughts on “A Bone to Pick, Born Yesterday, Both Feet on the Ground: American English Idioms #24

  1. we can improve our English language by listening to American English Idioms. But I forgot to use them in our conversation. How can we learn them by heart?

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