Bed of roses

Bed of roses is an idiom that has been in use at least since the 1500s. An idiom is a word, group of words or phrase that has a figurative meaning that is not easily deduced from its literal definition. Often using descriptive imagery, 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. Many English as a Second Language students do not understand idiomatic expressions such as beating around the bush, jump the gun, let the cat out of the bag, hit the sack, Achilles heel, barking up the wrong tree, chip on your shoulder, a dime a dozen, under the weather, piece of cake, when pigs fly, and raining cats and dogs, as they attempt to translate them word for word, which yields only the literal meaning. In addition to learning vocabulary and grammar, one must understand the figurative language of idiomatic phrases in order to know English like a native speaker. We will examine the meaning of the expression a bed of roses, where it came from and some examples of its use in sentences.

Something that is described as a bed of roses is not difficult. It is pleasant or luxurious or is an easy option. Synonyms for a bed of roses that may be found in a thesaurus are comfortable, pleasant, effortless, agreeable, luxurious. Often, the idiom a bed of roses is expressed in the negative, as in describing something as not a bed of roses. The expression a bed of roses came into use as an idiom in the 1500s. The phrase a bed of roses to describe a flowerbed planted with roses may be found as early as the 1200s. One of the oldest and most famous known uses of the phrase a bed of roses as an idiom written by Christopher Marlowe in his poem, The Passionate Shepherd to His Love, published several years after his death in 1593: “And I will make thee beds of roses, And a thousand fragrant posies, A cap of flowers, and a kirtle, Embroidered all with leaves of myrtle…”

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Within that remortgage space however, all is not a bed of roses, and in particular the continued use of ‘fees-free legal’ services to borrowers is, quite frankly, in so many cases nothing short of a disgrace. (The Financial Reporter)

New Zealand’s longest married couple say life hasn’t been a bed of roses – but tolerance and sacrifice has seen them through.  (The Sunday Star Times)

“I’m not going to paint your life as a bed of roses, sweetheart, because it hasn’t been,” the urban seer divines. (The Guardian)

Powell’s life, complete with barbs from U.S. President Donald Trump, is not always a bed of roses. (Reuters)

Speaking to the media at Tirumala after darshan of Lord Venkateswara, she said Rama Rao’s life was not a bed of roses, he suffered a lot in his early life and struggled hard to become an actor and to reach the position of the most popular matinee idol.  (The Hans India)

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