9 common phrases you didn't know have dark origin stories
很多常用短语的实际意思都和字面意思相差甚远，你可曾好奇这些短语都是怎么来的吗？比如paying through the nose的原意真的是“用鼻子抵账”吗？表示开玩笑为什么要用pulling someone’s leg（拉腿）来形容？现在就来为你揭露9个常用短语的“暗黑过往”。
"Riding shotgun" is the ideal place to ride during on a road trip. But in the Old West, the person sitting in the passenger seat was required to do a whole lot more than find the perfect radio station.
Stagecoach drivers in the Old West needed a person to literally "ride shotgun." The passenger would carry a shotgun in order to scare off robbers who might want to attack them, according to Reader's Digest.
Most people would agree that paying $10 for your favorite cup of coffee is highway robbery. But the original definition of highway robbery once meant literally robbing travelers on or near the highway. The first known usage of the phrase was in 1611.
多数人会认同一杯可口的咖啡要价10美元（68元人民币）是highway robbery（敲竹杠）。但是highway robbery原来的意思就是在公路上或公路附近抢劫旅客。这个短语的使用最早见于1611年。
Painting the town red源自醉鬼恶行
For you and your crew, "painting the town red" probably means getting glammed up for a fun night of drinks and dancing. However, the phrase originates from a night out that makes dancing on the bar seem tame.
对你和你的小伙伴来说，painting the town red的意思是打扮得光鲜亮丽晚上出去喝酒、跳舞。但是，这个短语原来的意思可比在酒吧跳舞劲爆多了。
Back in 1837, the Marquis of Waterford went out for a night of drinking with some of his friends, according to Phrases.org. Afterward, the group went through the streets of a small English town destroying property. They broke windows, knocked over flower pots, and damaged door knockers. But things got really crazy when they got their hands on some red paint and literally painted the town red, including doors, a tollgate, and a swan statue.
Pulling someone’s leg并不总是玩笑
You probably think that pulling someone's leg is all in good fun. After all, what's the harm in a little joke, right? This commonly used phrase that today means playing an innocent joke meant something a lot more sinister years
你大概以为pulling someone's leg（开某人的玩笑）都很好玩。毕竟，开个小玩笑无伤大雅。这个常用短语在今天的意思是开个没有恶意的玩笑，但多年前的意思却要邪恶得多。
Thieves in 18th and 19th Century London would drag their victims to the ground by their legs in order to rob them, according to Phrases.org.
Paying through the nose北欧海盗真的做得出
You won't be happy if you think you're paying through the nose for something. Although you may feel like you're getting ripped off, at least you get to keep your face intact. The roots of this commonly used idiom come from a brutal tactic of The Dane Vikings of slitting someone's nose from tip to eyebrow if the person refused to pay their tax, according to Grammarist.
如果你觉得自己paying through the nose for something（为某件东西花了很多钱），肯定高兴不起来。不过，就算被“宰”，至少你的脸是完好无损的。根据Grammarist网站记载，这个常用习语源于北欧海盗的一种残酷手段，如果有人拒绝交税，就将此人的鼻子从鼻头到眉间划开。
如果有人read you the riot act 你的麻烦远超你想象
After your parents "read you the riot act" for breaking curfew, you might have been facing a few weeks in your room without a television. But in 18th Century England, being read the Riot Act meant you could be facing time behind bars.
如果你的父母因为你深夜不归而read you the riot act（责罚你），你可能将面临几周的禁闭，还不能看电视。但是在18世纪的英格兰，being read the Riot Act（宣读《暴动法案》）意味着你可能要进监狱。
The Riot Act was implemented in 1715 and stated that the British government could consider any group of 12 or more people a threat to public safety and be ordered to break up, according to Atlas Obscura. Anyone refusing to disperse could be arrested or forcibly removed from the premises.
Letting the cat out of the bag可能是阴险勾当
Today, "letting the cat out of the bag" is used to mean spilling someone's secret. But one of the supposed origins of the phrase was rooted in deceit.
在现代，letting the cat out of the bag指的是泄露某人的秘密。但该短语的原意和欺骗有关。
Supposedly in Medieval times, farmers would go to markets to purchase pigs. Most of the time, their bag would contain the animal they paid for. But if they bought from a shady dealer, they would open their bag to find an unpleasant surprise - their pricey pig had been swapped for a much less expensive cat.
But as Mental Floss notes, there are quite a few holes with this theory.
You may be thankful to count on that 13th roll in your baker's dozen, but you can think a rather sinister rule for its creation.
It all traces back to a 13th-century British rule called the Assize of Bread and Ale. The rule stated that if bakers were caught selling smaller or low-quality bread to customers, they could have their hands chopped off.
That's why it was just easier to throw a 13th piece into the pile — thus creating the baker's dozen.
Meeting a deadline曾经真的是“死线”
When you get that big report to your boss on time, "meeting a deadline" is a good thing. But the phrase was coined during the American Civil War and had some deadly consequences.
如果你准时将重要报告交给领导，meeting a deadline就是好事。但这个短语是在美国内战期间被发明的，当时可是会招来致命的后果。
The deadline was apparently a line inside of the area where Federal prisoners of war were kept. If a prisoner attempted to cross the line, they would be shot, according to Bloomsbury International.