Nurses show a pair that fraternal pair to their mother (bottom) ~ they to be born in Xi'an, Shaanxi district August 16, 2012. (Reuters Photo)


Now, the VOA learning English routine Words and also Their Stories.

You are watching: How thick is blood compared to water

On this routine we check out expressions regularly heard in American English. And sometimes we acquire it dorn -- an extremely wrong!

But to be fair, over there are merely some expressions that most indigenous English speaker understand and also use incorrectly. The problem with this terms is that, end the years, they have been shortened and also important words are missing.

Today, we will certainly talk around an idiom that civilization not just use the wrong way, but the original an interpretation -- the very very first usage -- is actually opposite from exactly how we usage it today.

That idiom is -- Blood is thicker than water.

If ns ask 100 world what the idiom means, most, if no all, will say the it way family relationships room the most important. The blood girlfriend share through your family members represents a solid relationship. We contact these family ties.

"Water" right here seemingly to represent the link you have with world with whom you execute not re-superstructure blood ties. And also those links simply space not together strong.

First, let"s look at the word "thick." In this idiom, that does not mean the physical dimension of something, as in the walls on the residence are really thick.

Here, words "thick" means to have a really close relationship with someone. If you are thick v your best friend, you to trust him. You might even say you males are ‘tight.’

When offered this way, "thick" offers us a couple of other idioms. If two friends are thick as thieves, they are an extremely close and trust each various other a lot. As soon as you steal indigenous others and get caught, you will probably go to jail. So, the is important to trust the human being you stealing with. If one rats out the others, you can all finish up in jail!

The bond between thieves goes beyond a normal friendship. Yet for united state non-thieving people, it’s also important to it is in there for our friends. If you are a supportive friend, you check out your friend through great times and also bad. Another method to speak this is to check out them through thick and also thin or be with them through thick and also thin.

So, the idiom blood is thicker than water means family members ties room the strongest. That makes sense, right?

Well, it makes sense till you listen the entirety idiom together it was very first written in the Bible. The initial saying is "Blood the the agreement is thicker 보다 water that the womb."

The vital words in the original version are the ones dropped over the centuries: "covenant" and also "womb."

A "covenant" is a serious, official agreement or promise. Usually, we just use the word "covenant" when the covenant is important, such as a "covenant with God" or "the commitment of marriage." Covenants regularly involve legal requirements, such together an "international agreement on human being rights."

In our Bible-based idiom, the agreement is in between soldiers on the battlefield. So, we don"t use the term lightly.


Now, the other crucial word is "womb."

A womb is the uterus, an body organ where a mrs carries one unborn baby. The water in the womb protects the fetus together it grows during pregnancy. And also when a pregnant woman"s water breaks, she will certainly soon offer birth.

The English language has other idioms with words "womb."

For example, womb-to-tomb means from bear to death. A dig is a building over or below the ground where we keep dead bodies. We frequently use “womb-to-tomb” when talking about government plans that safeguard a person for their entire life.

Another method we say this is “from cradle come the grave.” A cradle is a bed for a baby. And also a grave is a feet in the ground for burying a dead body. So, womb-to-tomb or cradle-to-grave are both means to refer to a person’s entire life however in a an ext dramatic way. And also drama is probably what the rock band U2 to be going for in their song “All I desire Is You.”

But all the promises we make

From the cradle come the grave

When every I desire is you ...

So, "blood is thicker than water" actually means that bloodshed ~ above the battlefield creates stronger ties 보다 the water that the womb does, or household ties. Not just are we making use of "blood is thicker 보다 water" incorrectly, the current usage is opposite from the initial meaning.

But here’s the thing, we ALL usage this idiom incorrectly. So, if you want human being to know your really meaning, you may want to use it the means everyone else does.

You mean, incorrectly?

Yes, i do. And also then you deserve to impress them with your expertise of the original meaning of the idiom.

Yes. That would certainly be a great dinner party story.

That’s a an excellent idea.

And that"s our regime for this week. However it is no the end of the expressions that we use incorrectly.

There are number of of those. So, nothing forget come listen following week for another Words and also Their story to find out more.

I’m Bryan Lynn.

See more: How Many Moles Of Boron Are In 1.00 Gram? Solved For The Given Elements, Convert 1

And I"m Anna Matteo.

Don"t permit the light leave your lightsRivers don"t operation in a directly lineA girlfriend of mineBlood"s thicker 보다 water

Don"t fall from grace with open up skiesLeading the blind with open eyesNo compromiseBlood"s thicker 보다 waterBlood"s thicker 보다 water

Anna Matteo created this story. George flourish was the editor. The tune at the finish is Bobby Banzini to sing “Blood’s Thicker 보다 Water.”


Words in This Story

idiom n. an expression that cannot be taken from the interpretations of its different words but that has a separate definition of that own

original adj. happening or existing very first or at the beginning

rat v. to betray, desert, or notify on one"s associates

tight adj. having a close an individual or functioning relationship

Bible proper noun the book of sacred writings offered in the Christian religion

thick adj. having a close and also friendly relationship

dramatic adj. often mirroring a the majority of emotion : tending come behave and react in an exaggeration way