explanatory Essay
791 words
791 words

“If you study balls to the wall from now on, you just might pass this class”- said my roommate when he saw me studying for the Financial Statement Analysis course, “Professor is a real ball breaker.” When I heard that phrase, I assumed he was referring to testicles, but in fact he wasn’t. Balls to the wall means to push to the limit, go all out, full speed. This is a very colorful phrase; one needs to be careful when using it. Although its real origin is very benign, most people assume it is a reference to testicles, just like I did. In fact the expression came from fighter planes. The "balls" are knobs atop the plane's throttle control. Pushing the throttle all the way forward, to the wall of the cockpit, is to apply full throttle.
Some are of opinion that this phrase originated from railroad locomotives. Early railroad locomotives were powered by steam engines. Those engines typically had a mechanical governor. These governors consisted of two weighted steel balls mounted at the ends of two arms, jointed and attached to the end of a vertical shaft that was connected to the interior of the engine. The entire assembly is encased in a housing. The shafts and the weighted balls rotate at a rate driven by the engine speed. As engine speed increases, the assembly rotates at a faster speed and the force causes the weighted balls to hinge upward on the arms. At maximum engine speed - controlled by these governors – the force causes the two weighted balls to rotate with ...

In this essay, the author

  • Explains that the phrase "balls to the wall" was a reference to testicles. it originated from fighter planes.
  • Explains the origin of the phrase "balls to the wall" in early railroad locomotives.
  • Explains the meaning of hard rain, but its origins aren't well-known.
  • Explains that the phrase 'raining cats and dogs' originates from ancient mythology that cats could influence the weather and that dogs were a symbol of the wind.
  • Explains that break a leg is sourced in superstition, but the words wish just the opposite. it was once common for people to believe in sprites.
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