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.
Adam Chasers:
Paleontologists. This is the title of a novel from the 30's.
Adam Kadmon:
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".
Adam's ale:
Adam's apple:
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.
Adam's arm:
A shovel.
Adam's flannel:
The great mullein plant.
Adam's needle:
The yucca.
Adam's profession:
Adam's rib:
Eve, or women generally.
Adam's task:
Refers to the naming of the animals.
Adam's whip:
The penis.
The Apple:
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 understanding. 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 living.
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 incorrectly. 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 John Steinbeck.
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.
Eve's mirror:
A pool of water.
Eve's needle:
A variety of cactus.
Men who molest women on buses in India.
The Fall:
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, and childbirth.
Felix Culpa:
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".
Forbidden Fruit:
This phrase has become a synonym for any forbidden item, although sexual matters are most frequently intended.
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 condemns.
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 Heaven.
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".
Nolo tangere:
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 me tangere".
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.
Original Sin:
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 common usage.
"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, chaos."
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 cavemen.
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.
Raising Cain:
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.

Last modified on 04 May 2006.