Tried and true

Tried and true is an idiom with an uncertain origin. 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 saying tried and true, where it may have come from, and some examples of its idiomatic usage in sentences.

Tried and true describes something that has worked in the past and is expected to work again; something that is dependable; something that is reliably effective. The expression tried and true is hyphenated when it appears before a noun, for example: a tried-and-true method or a tried-and-true technique. Various sources say that the expression tried and true came into use in the 1900s, 1700s, or 1400s. The origin of the expression tried and true is unknown; one source believes it is derived from finishing a piece of wood so that it is straight or “true.”


While he is using his family’s tried-and-true, decades-old recipes, the cooking process in the USDA commissary kitchen is much different than at the restaurant. (The Commercial Appeal)

They followed the tried-and-true pattern of posting and sharing about everything from the flight experience, the restaurants, the hotels. (Travel Weekly)

Mixologists are experts at making even the most tried-and-true drink taste sensational, so we leveraged their expertise on a whole host of aperitifs and mocktails that radiate the reason for the season in beverage form. (The Huffington Post)

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