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Leap of faith

  • Leap of faith is an idiom that dates to the 1800s. An idiom is a word, group of words or phrase, or phrasal verbs that have a figurative meaning that is not easily deduced from its literal definition. These figures of speech often use descriptive imagery, common idioms are words and phrases used in the English language in order to convey a concise idea, and are often colloquialisms or descriptors that are spoken or are considered informal or conversational. English idioms can illustrate emotion more quickly than a phrase or expression 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 have definitions and connotations that go beyond the literal meaning of the words. Mastery of the turn of phrase of an idiom or other parts of speech is essential for the English learner. Many English as a Second Language students do not understand idiomatic expressions that native speakers understand such as in a blue moon, spill the beans, let the cat out of the bag, chin up, eye to eye, barking up the wrong tree, bite the bullet, beat a dead horse, hit the nail on the head, kicked the bucket, blow off steam, jump on the bandwagon, piece of cake, hit the sack, 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 phrasing of the figurative language of idiomatic phrases in order to know English like a native speaker. It is possible to memorize a list of idioms, but it may be easier to pay attention to the use of idioms in everyday speech, where peculiar imagery will tell you that the expressions should not be taken literally. We will examine the meaning of the idiomatic phrase leap of faith, where it came from, and some examples of its use in sentences.


     

    A leap of faith is the process of believing in something regardless of logic, evidence or proof. One may take a leap of faith when all other manner of making a decision are insufficient. For instance, one may examine many logical reasons to marry a person, but in the end there are no guarantees, and one must make a leap of faith that the decision to marry is the right one. The term leap of faith is credited to Søren Kierkegaard, though he never actually used that term. He did examine the idea of taking a leap of faith, because God cannot be understood through logical, materialistic standards. Today, the idiom leap of faith often means taking a step with the assumption that things will work out alright, without considering the role of a deity in the situation. The term leap of faith was coined in the 1800s, but its popularity soared after 1940.

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    Examples

    When Tambo Barrow took a “leap of faith” and opened up a gourmet burger joint, Bred, in Lower Mills nearly five years ago, the burden of owning and operating a restaurant full-time was overwhelming at times. (The Dorchester Reporter)

    In 1980, Keith and Brenda Christopherson took a leap of faith and purchased 23 lots in the first Fountaingrove neighborhood, called Southridge Estates. (North Bay Business Journal)

    After more than three decades of lifting weights as a professional and an amateur, Court Burkamper, 47, of Boone, took the leap of faith and is pursuing his passion for owning and operating his very own gym, called The Strength Shop, located at 1504 S. Story St., in Boone. (The Boone News-Republican)


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