This I have learned: “Curious Article”

Mary Jo Bellner Swartzberg

Have you gone on a vacation and, upon arriving back at your domicile, you say “Home sweet home?” This is a well-known idiom. Its obscure origin is from a song in the opera Clari, or The Maid of Milan, which was first performed in London in 1823. The song was popularized during the late 19th century and it became an anthem for soldiers during the American Civil War:

Mid pleasures and palaces though we may roam,

Be it ever so humble there’s no place like home!

A charm from the skies seems to hallow us there,

Which, seek through the world, is ne’er met with elsewhere.

Home! Home! Sweet, sweet home!

There’s no place like home!

There’s no place like home!

And, speaking of home, here are some sayings about this word, which have many connotations.

Home is Where the Heart is.

To be sure, many emotions are attached to the word “home” for we not only think of our current home, but that of the home in which we were raised. Actually, the idiom has been attributed to Pliny the Elder (AD 23–79) but first realized and read in the U.S. in J.J. McCloskey’s Davey Crockett and Other Plays; “Well, home, they say, is where the heart is.”

To Drive Something Home

This phrase means to make one’s point strongly. Interestingly, there is little explanation that could be found on this idiom. However, one clever person posted on the Internet: The best instance of “drive” in this sort of meaning is in the machine called a piledriver. It drops a heavy weight onto a long pole that will get driven into the ground. When you drive a point home, you are really hammering away at an explanation or an order.

It Really Hit Close to Home

We know that this phrase means that if a situation, or what someone says, hits or strikes home people accept that it is real or true, even though it may be painful for them to realize. The noun “home” means the heart of something, a usage dating from the late 1800s.


The subject of homesickness was reviewed in a CNN article that was published in 2010. Experts believe that homesickness is not about home and nor is it about an illness. Rather, it is about our instinctive need for love, protection and security. “These qualities are associated with home,” said Josh Klapow, a clinical psychologist and associate professor at the University of Alabama’s School of Public Health. When we are missing these qualities, we begin to long for them and, hence, the longing for home.

(To) Eat Someone Out of House and Home

This expression denotes a person’s dwelling place and has its origins in the English language. It first appeared in The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, 1129. This idiom was also used by Shakespeare (2 Henry IV, 2:1 – 1597) – “He hath eaten me out of house and home.” Of course, in modern times, this idiom refers to teenagers who have extraordinary insatiable appetites!

A House Divided Cannot Stand

This iconic idiom was made popular, of course, by Abraham Lincoln at the Illinois Republican convention in 1858. The conflict between the North and the South was intensifying and Lincoln said that the war would not stop until a crisis was reached and passed. Lincoln used the Biblical phrase “A house divided against itself cannot stand,” which is a variation found in the King James Version, Matthew, 12:25.