even Homer sometimes nods

Micmanz Lanugage Improvement series

This is an expression which is not heard very often these days. Homer is the Greek poet who wrote two great epics: the Iliad and the Odyssey. The word ‘nod’ in this context means to ‘fall asleep’. What happens when you are at work and feel drowsy? As you are unable to think clearly, you begin to make numerous mistakes. What the idiom means is ‘nobody is perfect’: even someone as great as Homer ended up making mistakes in his two epics.

  • When I told Anjali there were a couple of errors in her report, she replied that even Homer sometimes nods.


  • Anand has been doing a brilliant job. Every now and then, he slips up. Even Homer sometimes nods, I guess.


The idiom is actually a translation of a line from the Roman poet Horace, who in his ‘De Ars Poetica’, wrote: “I think it is a shame when the worthy Homer nods: but in so long a work it is allowable if drowsiness comes on.”

Article source : The Hindu

Author : S. UPENDRAN
Contact : upendrankye@gmail.com

Use your idioms right

Micmanz Lanugage Improvement series

The English language is full of phrases and idioms that we often use without understanding them. Here are some popularly used idioms and their meanings…

Eager beaver: A person who is eager to work extra.

Example: Seema is a real eager beaver and she will do very well in her job.


Get on one’s high horse: Behave with arrogance.

Example: Seema is always getting on her high horse and telling people what to do.


Hold one’s horses: Be patient.

Example: Hold your horses while I finish this typing.


In the doghouse: In disgrace or disfavour.

Example: He is in the doghouse with his teacher because he did not do his homework.


Let the cat out of the bag: Reveal a secret.

Example: The teacher let the cat out of the bag when she told the class about the picnic plans.


Put the cart before the horse: Do things in the wrong order.

Example: Organising an event around a movie before buying tickets is putting the cart before the horse.


Take the bull by the horns: Take decisive action and not worry about the results.

Example: My mother decided to take the bull by the horns and arrange my sister’s wedding.

Don’t take it literally

Micmanz Lanugage Improvement series

The English language is full of idioms which we often use without knowing their meanings. Here are a few popular idioms and their meanings…

Bark up the wrong tree: Choose the wrong course of action.

Example: Seema was barking up the wrong tree when she accused Ram of causing problems as Ram was out of town that week.

His/her bark is worse than her/his bite: Her or his words are worse than their actions.

Example: Seema is really a nice person — her bark is worse than her bite.

Bull in a china shop: A person who acts with no tact. Example: Don’t invite Seema over. She’s like a bull in a china shop.

Cat nap: A short sleep taken during the day.

Example: I took a nice cat nap in the afternoon.

Dark horse: A candidate little known to the general public.

Example: Seema was the dark horse in her school’s election.

Donkey’s years: A very long time.

Example: I’ve known Rajan for donkey’s years.