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Amen corner

  • Amen corner is primarily an American idiom, though its roots are traced to London. An idiom is a commonly used word, group of words, or phrase that has a figurative meaning that is not easily deduced from its literal definition. Often using descriptive imagery or metaphors, common idioms are words and phrases used in the English language in order to convey a concise idea, and are often spoken or are considered informal or conversational. English idioms can illustrate emotion more quickly than a phrase that has a literal meaning, even when the etymology or origin of the idiomatic expression is lost. An idiom is a metaphorical figure of speech, and it is understood that it is not a use of literal language. Figures of speech like an often-used metaphor have definitions and connotations that go beyond the literal meaning of the words. Mastery of the turn of phrase of an idiom, which may use slang words or other parts of speech common in American slang or British slang, is essential for the English learner. Many English as a Second Language students do not understand idiomatic expressions and idiomatic language such as hit the sack, spill the beans, let the cat out of the bag, silver lining, back to the drawing board, barking up the wrong tree, kick the bucket, hit the nail on the head, face the music, under the weather, piece of cake, when pigs fly, and raining cats and dogs, because they attempt to translate them word for word, which yields only the literal meaning. English phrases that are idioms should not be taken literally. In addition to learning vocabulary and grammar, one must understand the phrasing of the figurative language of idiomatic phrases in order to know English like a native speaker; it is helpful to maintain a list of phrases, common expressions, colloquial terms, and popular expressions to memorize that are used figuratively or idiomatically. We will examine the meaning of the common idiom amen corner, where it came from, and some examples of its idiomatic usage in sentences.

     

    The amen corner is an idiom that means a group that enthusiastically agrees with a person or idea or a group that is composed of unshakeable supporters of a person or idea. The term amen corner was used in the 1800s in the United States to mean a section of a church with people who enthusiastically shout, “Amen!” in response to the preacher. This was primarily a Southern term. The expression amen corner was first used in London to describe an area where monks processed, praying, during the 1500s. Now primarily an American term, amen corner is used as an idiom; it also refers to the 11th, 12th, and 13th holes at the Augusta National Golf Club, because of the difficulty of this section of the course.

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    Examples

    And with the complicated exception of Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, the party establishment is an amen corner. (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)

    They allow him to summon his amen corner and don’t expose him to editors, who require, among other things, that what he says be grounded in something resembling reality. (Herald Bulletin)

    The amen corner of the Republican Party — Fox News host Tucker Carlson, Trumpian wannabees and, sadly, some Catholic clergy — somehow think not getting vaccinated is a sign of toughness. (National Catholic Reporter)


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