A less likely theory is that it derives from a phrase uttered by youngsters in the Roman empire who got into trouble, patrue mi patruissime (“uncle, my best of uncles”).  A fanciful suggestion is that it may be based on a joke from 19th-century England about a bullied parrot being coaxed to address his owner's uncle.  
- Arika Okrent
- By the Same Token. Bus token? Game token? What kind of token is involved here? Token is a very old word, referring to something that’s a symbol or sign of something else.
- Get on a Soapbox. The soapbox that people mount when they get on a soapbox is actually a soap box, or rather, one of the big crates that used to hold shipments of soap in the late 1800s.
- Tomfoolery. The notion of Tom fool goes a long way. It was the term for a foolish person as long ago as the Middle Ages (Thomas fatuus in Latin). Much in the way the names in the expression Tom, Dick, and Harry are used to mean “some generic guys,” Tom fool was the generic fool, with the added implication that he was a particularly absurd one.
- Go Bananas. The expression go bananas is slang, and the origin is a bit harder to pin down. It became popular in the 1950s, around the same time as go ape, so there may have been some association between apes, bananas, and crazy behavior.
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Mar 29, 2022 · Studio publicist Disney publicist Vern Caldwell wrote to “Song of the South” producer Perce Pearce to say “the negro situation is a dangerous one. Between the negro haters and the negro ...
Aug 1, 2014 · A more plausible explanation, though, dates back to the days of the Roman Empire. When young children of that era were attacked by bullies, they wouldn’t be set free until they uttered "Patrue ...
- Kara Kovalchik
Oct 14, 2022 · What is the origin of the phrase uncle? One theory is that it derives from a phrase uttered by youngsters in the Roman empire who got into trouble, patrue mi patruissime (“uncle, my best of uncles”). It may also be based on a joke from 19th-century England about a bullied parrot being coaxed to address his owner’s uncle.
May 13, 2019 · 13 Quotes About Uncles to Dedicate to Your Sidekick on Father's Day. Jump to the top of the niece and nephew list by writing one of these sayings in a card. Selena Barrientos Associate ...