The meaning and origin of the phraseologism "to beat the brow"

This article will talk about one of the many phraseological units - "to beat the brow". What does this expression mean, where did it come from, why and why was it used in speech. We will talk about this and many other things in our material. So, consider the outdated expression "to beat the brow".


Heritage of antiquity

Before proceeding to the descriptive meaning of the expression, we turn your attention to the obsolete word "people", or how it sounds in circulation "people". In the old Russian language, this word means "forehead", in combination with the word "beat" you get a phrase like "beat your forehead," if you say in other words, then waste your strength in vain or in vain. But in ancient times on Mother Russia, this occupation was not considered useless and had a completely different meaning. "To beat the brow", that is, to bump your forehead in a low bow in front of persons of state importance, grandees and sovereigns, was considered the norm, thereby showing respect to the latter.If we combine the two verbs in meaning, bow and ask, then the result of their merger may be the expression "to beat the head". At the sight of the sovereign, the people close to him bowed so low that they could hear a rapping, saying that the sovereign-father valued all our love, respect and diligence.

Summing up the small result, we note that the initial meaning of “to beat the head” is to bow. And over time, it acquired another semantic connotation - to ask, thank or complain.

to whip significance

Before and after or everything remains as before

The revolution of 1917 broke out and great changes took place in the country. You will not hear the old appeal “sir” anymore, a new one appeared - “comrade”. Nobody uses the phrase “to beat the brow”, they began to “ask”, “bring it to your knowledge or information,” there was nothing strange about this, because life cannot stand in one place, changes must occur. It is worth noting that, despite the innovations, the average man, turning to a high-ranking person, after the Great Revolution and after, say, the times of Perestroika, and what can I say, and today, including, have to “beat the head”. Of course, not in the literal sense of the word, but in a figurative sense.Yes, the times have become different, the speech has changed, the bast shoes have been replaced by beautiful and comfortable, let's say in a modern language that we understand, stylish shoes, but the essence of things has remained the same. Of course, not always, but more often than we would like, you have to bow and ask.


Another version

There is another version of the origin of this expression, but today it has remained modestly standing in the shadow of its predecessor. There is an assumption that the word "people" was pronounced as "chal", hence a completely different story follows. “Chan” is a thin rope, one end of which was tied to a thick rope, and the other was a large ball of knots of the rope itself. When they said "to beat the vat," in other words, they made a warning to the environment, they say, "take care of your head, I beat the vat."

In addition, there is another predisposition for the emergence of a phrase. In ancient times, secret signs were placed on the head of the messenger in the parietal zone of the head in the form of a message to the sovereign, or in the same part of the head a letter was woven into the hair. Thus, the messenger, who appeared before the sovereign, knelt, leaning in a low bow, and pulled his hair apart on his head, revealing the "place of storage" of his message.The pose in which they were asked, in the same sense, the presentation of the message can also be considered to have remained unchanged, just like the one when the petition was offered to the king, that is, the petition. In this case, the applicant was on his knees, his forehead on the floor, and above his head he held his petition.

to beat a brow synonym


As for the synonyms for “to beat the brow”, we will rather not tell, but summarize what we said earlier. Those no less in modern language, understood by us, today's readers, we will cite as an example such synonyms: to complain, ask, express sensual gratitude, bow, apologize, sensual thank.

Time to retire?

It so happens that we have been storing unwanted unfashionable rubbish for decades, which, in our opinion, may someday be useful to us. Sometimes it happens that a grandmother’s chintz sundress comes at the time of both figure and fashion time. So maybe with outdated expressions: someday you will be able to "flash" your knowledge. Or, on the contrary, you will be able to understand the speaker, receiving in return a certain share of respect.

We give an example based on "our" expression. So, the famous to this day Soviet musical comedy of 1973 of the release “Ivan Vasilyevich Changes Profession”, where there is a scene of writing a letter by court clerk Feofan,in the role of which the brilliant Soviet actor Savely Kramarov, and the equally popular actor in the role of Ivan the Terrible, Yury Vasilyevich Yakovlev, starred. At the end of the letter, which the king dictates to the clerk, “our” famous phrase sounds: “it beats his brow,” after which Ivan the Terrible broke out with a merry cackle. A knowledgeable person will understand the reason for his fun!

to beat with a brow


In conclusion, summing up what was said, I would like to note that, sadly, but idioms are a thing of the past, they are replaced by new expressions, more often of foreign origin, which can be heard today among young people.

The loss of a word or whole expression from everyday speech is the result of a long process. But it also happens that an obsolete word or expression is subsequently returned to the active lexical vocabulary, but, as a rule, there is a sharp change in meaning. In our case, the reason for the disappearance of the phrase “to beat the brow” may lie in the inability to use it in this form; moreover, the nature of its use has also changed. Is that a joke, remembering the good old film, the memory of the very scene with the very phrase.

Related news

The meaning and origin of the idiom brow image, picture, imagery

The meaning and origin of the idiom brow 5

The meaning and origin of the idiom brow 77

The meaning and origin of the idiom brow 75

The meaning and origin of the idiom brow 65

The meaning and origin of the idiom brow 40