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Get the skinny

  • Get the skinny is an idiom that has been traced back to just before World War II. An idiom is a word, group of words or phrase that has a figurative meaning that is not easily deduced from its literal definition. 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. An idiom can illustrate emotion more quickly than a phrase that has a literal meaning, even when the origin of the idiomatic expression is lost. Many English as a Second Language students do not understand idiomatic expressions such as kick the bucket, barking up the wrong tree and piece of cake, 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 phrase get the skinny, where it came from and some examples of its use in sentences.


     

    To get the skinny means to be informed of the real truth or the straight facts, to be told inside information or confidential information. When you get the skinny, you obtain a deeper understanding of the person, subject or situation at hand than the average person. The origin of the expression get the skinny is up for debate. The earliest known use of the phrase get the skinny is in The Rolling World, an autobiography by Richard Matthews Hallet written in 1938. The term was most probably somewhat in use before this time, but it is during World War II that the phrase gained popularity. According to Ngram, the use of the phrase get the skinny exploded from the late 1970s to the present time. The word skinny was at one time a synonym of the word skin. Etymologist tend to believe that get the skinny is an allusion to bare skin, and the phrase get the skinny means to get to the bare skin or naked truth of a matter. Note that in most cases, the word skinny is an adjective meaning extremely thin. In the phrase get the skinny, the word is used as a noun. Related phrases are gets the skinny, got the skinny, gotten the skinny, getting the skinny. Get the skinny is an American idiom.

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    Examples

    GET THE SKINNY ON THE BEATLES: Find out why lads from Liverpool honed their craft in Germany (“Birth of the Beatles”), found fame as The Fab Four with help from manager Brian Epstein (“Deconstructing The Beatles 1963: Yeah, Yeah, Yeah”) and later made their interesting “failure” with a surreal film for TV (“Deconstructing The Beatles: Magical Mystery Tour”) when the Tallahassee Film Society presents the documentaries at various times and dates. (The Tallahassee Democrat)

    Users will get the skinny on the origins of the area, the history of some of its buildings, the people who got things rolling and even some unexpected revelations on what the community help launch (hint: think gators). (Florida Today)

    Get the skinny on each level of the Hero Factor scale to help you determine where you are and how to get to the top. (Entrepreneur Magazine)

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