Adam and Eve in Phrase and Slang
MDMA, a "recreational drug", from reading the name of the drug backwards,
and from the idea that the drug returns the user to Paradise.
Adam and Eve:
English rhyming slang for "believe". Late 19th or early 20th century.
Adam and Eve:
English rhyming slang for "leave", to make a hurried departure
(circa 1930; underworld).
Adam and Eve:
Restaurant slang for an order of two eggs.
an Adam and Eve Ball:
A dancing party that begins in the early evening, after which the
guests are expelled at midnight, like Adam and Eve.
Adam and Eve With Their Eyes Open:
Two eggs, sunny side up.
Adam and Eve on a Raft:
Two eggs on toast.
Adam and Eve on a Raft, Wrecked:
Two scrambled eggs on toast.
Adam, the Baby, and the Man From Mars:
As an illustration of the idea that everyone has prejudices, it is said that
the only absolutely unbiased observers would be Adam, a baby, and a man
from Mars. I have run across this phrase as the title of a play, and the
title of an essay.
Paleontologists. This is the title of a novel from the 30's.
The Kabbalah is a Jewish tradition of mysticism and numerology.
The numerology was based on the fact that each Hebrew letter had
a numeric value; the first nine letters stood for 1 through 9,
the next 9 for 10 through 90, and so on through 900. Thus it
was possible to compute the number of any word, and two words
might be shown to be numerically equivalent. All sorts of meanings
were derived from such hidden equivalences, particular when the
Bible was regarded as a perfect work in which no construable
meaning was accidental. The other focus of the Kabbalah was on
an ideal human figure, called "Adam Kadmon", which was a much more
sophisticated analog of the diagrams that match astrological signs
to body parts. Twenty two spots or "sephiroths", were marked
on the figure of Adam Kadmon, each associated with a separate
Hebrew letter. Certain spots were grouped, certain spots were
connected. Adam Kadmon is understood to represent Adam before
the fall, that is, the ideal human being from which we have fallen.
Refers to various sects that have arisen who believe
it is possible to return to the innocent state of Adam
and Eve. The Adamites often practiced nudity and free love.
An Italian adjective meaning "like Adam", that is, "naked".
The protuberance in the neck made by the voice box,
usually much more prominent in men. This is supposed
to be a remnant of the original apple eaten by Adam.
The great mullein plant.
Eve, or women generally.
Refers to the naming of the animals.
Apples didn't grow in Israel or the Middle East. The actual fruit
of the Tree of Knowledge is never specified. However, artistic
tradition has settled on the apple. The Latin for apple is "malum"
which is close to the word for evil.
In one version of the Bible, Adam and Eve are described as
making "aprons" for themselves from leaves.
The Breath of Life:
Adam comes alive when God breathes into him. There is a
Jewish tradition that a person is a single entity, not
a body and separate soul; this idea can be glimpsed in the
belief that life comes with breath. Strangely enough,
the idea that life begins with breath has been used as
a justification for abortion.
In another version of the Bible, Adam and Eve make themselves
breeches from leaves. This phrase was so ludicrous in the
context that that edition became known as the "Breeches Bible".
In the context of Genesis, creation is understood as the
making of something out of nothing. And yet, in at least two
cases, it can be argued that this might not be the appropriate
The literal translation of the first verses
of the Bible is "When God began to create heaven and earth,
the earth was Tohu and Bohu", which is taken to mean "without
form and void". But Tohu and Bohu can be taken to mean a sort
of chaotic unformed state.
And when God creates man, he actually forms Adam from dust,
and Eve from Adam's rib. And rather than creating a spirit
in Adam, God breathes into him. The Hebrew word translated
as spirit or soul is "Nephesh" which means a breathing thing.
This can be taken as an argument that the Hebrews took life
to be synonomous with breathing; in a curious way, this can
be formed into an argument for not regarding the unborn as
The Curse of Eve:
Strictly speaking, the curse that God laid upon Eve,
placing her subordinate to Adam, desiring him, and bearing
children in pain. In some cases, menstruation is referred
to as "the curse", and has been construed to be a part of
the curse of Eve. We don't know whether God meant Eve to
bear children before the fall, but certainly this was so
afterwards, and so this is not an unreasonable interpretation.
Daughter of Eve:
On the one hand, this may be taken as simply a synonym for
"woman". But the phrase has the definite connotation that,
like Eve, this particular woman is weak (liable to sin),
simple-minded (easily talked into anything), and the chief
reason that men get into trouble. Contrast with "Son of Adam".
A curious phrase in the New Testament claims that Eve was
deceived, but Adam was not deceived. What can this mean?
To our understanding, it sounds like Eve didn't know what
she was doing, and Adam did. A case could be made for this
argument, since God told Adam not to eat of the Tree of
Knowledge, but Eve did not receive this commandment directly
from God. However, Eve is able to tell the serpent that
the fruit is forbidden, although she quotes the commandment
I believe the correct understanding of this phrase, however,
is to understand "deceived" to mean "sweet-talked by the
serpent". Eve had to be deceived, or talked into, taking
the fruit, by the ill-meaning serpent, but Adam got no such
sales pitch. While we may infer that Eve talked Adam into
it, there is not such statement in the Bible. Instead,
Eve simply gives the fruit to Adam, and he eats it.
The Devil's Doorway:
Woman, or more rudely, the sexual organs of a woman. In either
case, it is suggested that the way to a man's heart is through
a woman (and that women's hearts don't matter). The serpent's
strategy seems to have been to get to Eve when she was away
from the guidance of her man, and having gotten her to sin,
to trust her to bring down Adam as well.
Dust to Dust:
On Ash Wednesday, the priest marks foreheads with ashes
while saying, "Remember man that thou art dust, and unto
dust thou shalt return." The point of this remark comes
from the creation of Adam from earth, clay, or dust.
East of Eden:
Adam and Eve were exiled east of Eden. Since then, this phrase
may be taken to suggest "outside of Paradise", "after the fall",
or "in this imperfect world." The title of a novel by
A rib on an airplane wing assembly.
Eve With the Lid on:
A slice of apple pie.
Eve's Custom House:
The female genitals. So called because it is where Adam
made his first entry.
A pool of water.
A variety of cactus.
Men who molest women on buses in India.
Or "The Fall of Man", refers to the disobedience of Adam
and Eve, and the consequences they suffered, including
expulsion from Eden, mortality, work, female subjugation,
Latin for "happy sin", expressing the thought that Adam's
sin, while regrettable in itself, made possible the wonderful
story of man's salvation by Christ.
A Fig Leaf:
After realizing they were naked, Adam and Eve made some sort
of clothes out of leaves. These were often taken to be fig
leaves. Curiously, when the genitalia on statues scandalized
some, they were covered up by plaster fig leaves. In time,
statues were carved with the fig leaves already in place.
A fig leaf now means a scanty covering, and is used in the
figurative sense of a pretense to hide a true purpose.
Eve Merriam wrote a book called "Fig Leaf - A History of Fashion".
This phrase has become a synonym for any forbidden
item, although sexual matters are most frequently
The Fruit of the Tree:
In another parallel drawn between the Fall of Man, and the
sacrifice of Christ, Christ on the cross is thought of as
a second fruit of the tree, a fruit that saves rather than
Said to mean literally "the place of the skull", this is the
hill on which Jesus was crucified. It may have gotten its
name because, perhaps, the bodies of the crucified were buried
nearby. However, there is an old tradition that Jesus
was crucified on the hill where Adam was buried. Some
paintings of the crucifixion show Adam's skull at the root of
the cross. Many parallels and contrasts have been drawn
between Adam and Christ: one began and one ends the story
of salvation; both were tempted; both were placed in a garden
(if only briefly, in Christ's case); Christ's genealogy is
drawn back to Adam (if in two different ways); Christ on the
cross is regarded as the restoration of the "fruit" to the
"tree" that Adam had taken; paintings of the harrowing of
hell show Adam and Eve as the first two to escape.
Harrowing of Hell:
In Christian tradition, Adam and Eve were forced to wait in
Hell (or perhaps an anteroom of it, such as Limbo) until Christ's
crucifixion, at which point his sacrifice made possible the cutting open
(harrowing) of Hell, to allow the worthy souls to ascend to
A word derived from a misreading of the English version
of the Bible. Before the creation of Eve, Adam is shown
all the animals in the Garden, but he could not find
a "help meet" for him. Here "meet" means "suitable";
Adam was looking for a suitable helper. Instead, the
two words were joined, and became "helpmate".
This Greek word unites the names of Hermes and Aphrodite
to name a creature of uncertain sex, both sexes, or some
of both sexes. Some people have argued that Adam (or the
first creature, who might not be Adam) was originally a
hermaphrodite, because it says that "male and female created
He him". I have seen paintings in which Adam and Eve have
both male and female genitals, stacked one above the other.
A poem or work that considers the six days of creation.
However, the related terms "Heptameron" and "Decameron" are the
names of two collections of stories, told one a day over
seventy and one hundred days, respectively (rather than just
seven or ten).
I Don't Know Him From Adam:
I wouldn't be able to distinguish that person from the most
important person in human history. Or perhaps, he is as
remote and unknown to me as is Adam.
I Don't Know Him From Adam's Off Ox:
I really don't know him.
Image and Likeness:
The original Hebrew of the Bible is full of parallel phrases
such as "image and likeness", which almost seem to be an
inspiration for legal documents. These phrases become so
distinctive, though, that they do begin to acquire a meaning
and resonate. After God has made man in his image and likeness,
one has to pause upon reading that Adam begot children
"in his image and likeness".
"Adam knew his wife Eve" says the Bible, and we know what is
meant. The related term "Carnal Knowledge" recalls this
same circumlocution. The source of endless jokes in high school.
The fact that Adam and Eve ate from the Tree of Knowledge
has suggested to many that they then had sexual intercourse.
The Mark of Cain:
After Cain slew Adam, and God cursed him to be an outcast, he
cried out that all who met him would slay him, so God placed a
mark on his forehead, warning all to leave him alone. Since then,
rather than meaning a protective sign, the mark of Cain has
signified a sign of guilt, or more particularly the repellent
aura of a murderer.
Nakedness is usually regarded as a sign of barbarity, idiocy, or
lasciviousness. However, Adam and Eve spend their time of sinlessness
and communion with God wearing no clothes. The word "shamelessness"
properly covers both situations. Adam and Eve had nothing to be
ashamed about, rather than ignoring the natural shame of nakedness.
In fact, prudish theologians claimed that Adam and Eve were originally
actually clothed in a shining garment of light, which was lost when
they sinned, thus explaining why it was at that moment that they
"realized they were naked".
Latin for "do not touch", suggestion the prohibition applied to the
forbidden fruit. Actually, of course, the Bible does not quote God
as forbidding the fruit from being touched, only from being eaten.
It is Eve who, apparently, misquotes God on this point when talking
to the serpent. A point of rabbinical tradition suggests that Eve
sinned in this way, by altering the word of God.
When the risen Christ appears to Mary Magdalene, he says "Nolo
The Old Adam:
Represents the tendency to sin inside each person. There are several
novels with this title.
The Greek word for the belly button. The title of a work by
Edmund or Philip Gosse (I forget which) addressing the issue of
whether Adam and Eve had belly buttons. This, surprisingly, has
been seriously debated; painters who have depicted Adam with a
navel have been accused of some hidden, evolutionistic agenda.
The equivalent Latin word is "umbilicus", and at one time, Rome
was claimed to be the "umbilicus" or center of the world, as
Eden had been thought of before.
Oodom Horishon hut nicht du gepisht:
"Adam never pissed there." - an expression indicating that a place
is extremely remote and unvisited.
According to Catholic doctrine, Adam and Eve committed
a sin by eating the fruit of the tree of Knowledge.
This sin, in turn, was passed down to all their
descendants, causing them to have a predilection to
sin, to be frail and mortal. The sacrament of Baptism
was said, in part, to remove some of the stigma of
Original Sin. While any baptized child who died before
the age of reason was understood to go to Heaven, an
infant who died before being baptized could not go to
Heaven, and was instead consigned to a gloomy place
known as Limbo, whose name has itself passed into
"Pantheon" is an ancient Latin word, meaning "all gods", and
indicating a temple dedicated not to any particular god, but to
all. There is an enormous Pantheon still standing in Rome.
When Milton wrote "Paradise Lost", he invented the word
"Pandemonium" to describe the temple that Satan and the fallen
angels built in Hell, meaning "all devils". Since then, the
word has fallen into popular use, meaning "raucous disorder,
The word paradise does not occur in the story of the creation and
fall of man. However, it has been used as a useful synonym for
Eden or the Garden of Eden. It comes from a Persian word,
pairadaeza, meaning "around wall", referring to the wall
traditionally assumed to surround the Garden of Eden.
Paradise can refer either to the Garden of Eden or to Heaven.
There is a certainly pleasing symmetry about such an arrangement,
for it presents human history as beginning in and returning to
Paradise. Sometimes Eden is referred to as the "Earthly Paradise"
to suggest that it is a foretaste of Heaven, or to emphasize that
it is definitely a physical place.
After the Fall of Man.
The race of men supposedly created during the "first
creation", that is, in the creation described in
chapter 1 of Genesis. Some people explain the two
creation stories in Genesis as referring to two distinct
events. In the first creation, a subhuman, nonblessed,
or non-Jewish race of unnamed men was created, while
in the second creation God made Adam and then Eve.
Such a story is a natural peg on which to hang various
racist theories. It can also be used to explain the
existence of Neanderthal skeletons. Jack London titles
one of his books "Before Adam", and wrote about
Before the Fall of Man.
The originating organisms; this term was actually used seriously
as a synonym for Adam and Eve in a scholarly work about a German
version of the Latin biography of Adam and Eve.
Making loud noises, causing a disturbance.
Satan, Lucifer, the devil, and the serpent are understood to be the same
thing these days. But the Bible never says that the serpent
was really Satan. The Bible never refers to the serpent in any
way that suggests it was anything except a subtle creature.
Satan is referred to in the Book of Job. "Satan" means "the
adversary". Lucifer is referred to in later works, and is described
as someone who has greatly fallen. "Lucifer" means "light bearer",
and, by the way, was at one time a brand name for matches. The
devil, about whom Daniel Defoe wrote an autobiography, seems to
be a later, Christian invention, a lesser anti-God.
A snake is a snake, except in the Bible.
Son of Adam:
A man, particularly suggesting the fact that the man is mortal,
subject to sickness and death, required to work, and liable to
error and sin.
The serpent was the subtlest creature. What is this to mean?
Does it mean the serpent is persuasive? That the serpent was
playing a very hidden game? Why does the serpent do what it
does? There is no motive given, and tradition has had to invent
a story about the fall of the angel Lucifer, who then takes
over the form of the serpent to wreak revenge on God by destroying
his perfect creation.
In Genesis, temptation does not mean a spontaneous, internal urge
to make a possibly bad choice. Rather, it represents the serpent's
active, deceptive persuasion and Eve's resulting receptive, vulnerable
response, much more like a seduction.
This Side of Paradise:
Adam and Eve were expelled from the Garden of Eden, and an angel
was left to guard the entrance. Since then, Eden has been thought
of as a place surrounded by a wall, with an angel at the gate.
We may characterize our lives of work, sickness, and death as
the typical conditions "This Side of Paradise", that is, outside
of Eden. There is a novel by Scott Fitzgerald with this title.
The fig leaf aprons worn by Adam and Eve after they realized
they were naked.
When Adam was an oakum boy:
A long time ago, naval slang.
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Last modified on 04 May 2006.