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Talk of the town

  • Talk of the town is a surprisingly old idiom. 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, is essential for the English learner. Many English as a Second Language students do not understand idiomatic expressions and idiomatic language such as in a blue moon, 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 idiom talk of the town, where it came from, and some examples of its idiomatic usage in sentences.


     

    The talk of the town is the person or information that is of particular interest in an area and is being discussed by most people. The talk of the town is a current subject, and may be informational or it may simply be gossip. The expression the talk of the town came into use at least as early as the 1600s. The phrase is found in the Diary of Samuel Pepys written in 1661: “Though he be a fool, yet he keeps much company, and will tell all he sees or hears, so a man may understand what the common talk of the town is.”

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    Examples

    WHO did it, however, has been the talk of the town for the past 94 years. (Hartselle Enquirer)

    While Bennett was looking to find out what was on the mind of possible voters, one story continues to be the talk of the town – the $11.7 million funding to fast track the expansion of the privately-run Green School in Oakura, as part of the Government’s shovel-ready initiative. (Taranaki Daily News)

    She was the talk of the town then and she rolled the floor with the initial push as Lynch became the biggest women’s wrestler in the WWE. (The Hindustan Times)


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