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It’s not rocket science

  • It’s not rocket science is an American idiom. 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 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 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 such as in a blue moon, spill the beans, let the cat out of the bag, in the same boat, bite the bullet, 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, as 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. We will examine the meaning of the idiom it’s not rocket science, where it may have come from, and some examples of its use in sentences.


     

    It’s not rocket science is an idiom that means the task or subject under discussion is not difficult, that a task should be easy to perform or a subject should be easy to understand. The phrase it’s not rocket science came into use in the United States during the 1980s, though rocket science had been a field of study since World War II. German rocket scientists were brought to the United States in the 1940s, and they helped launch the American rocket science program that eventually sent men to the moon. By the 1950s, rocket science was regarded as a complicated field of study. However, the phrase it’s not rocket science did not come into use until the 1980s when it was used to describe the degree of difficulty involved in coaching football.

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    Examples

    “It’s not rocket science” may be a tired cliché, but that doesn’t mean designing rockets is any less complicated. (Science Daily)

    “It’s not rocket science to understand that women generally have less health issues – they’re still going to have some – but they generally have less issues than males as they get older.” (The Buffalo News)

    “It’s not rocket science, please stay local, stick to low level walks for now, and exercise well within your ability.” (The Harrogate Advertiser)


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