Idiom: Knee-high to a grasshopperOED definition: Very small or very youngExample: I haven’t played this game since I was knee-high to a grasshopper
Blog in English Method To My Madness
This idiom uses an insect as a measure of hight, and suggests that someone is very small (or young) because they are only tall enough to come up to a grasshopper’s knee. This American phrase is over 200 years old, as it was first in print in 1814, and presumably was in common use beforehand. Many different animals have been used in this idiom over the years, with the first being a toad (a large frog). Over time, the animal in question has changed significantly, with phrases including a bumblebee, mosquito, duck and jackrabbit. However, no matter which animal was used as a comparison, the meaning remained the same; to say that someone is small and/or young. In 1851, the Democratic Review published the idiom as we know it today, ‘knee-high to a grasshopper’, and it has remained unchanged ever since then.