Thursday, August 24, 2006

The Crows Have It

Overheard last night in Kentucky:
"Well, it's a heck of a drive, but it's really just over the next hill as the crow flies."

Quite apart from the speaker being a pilot--one accustomed, it struck me, to seeing the straight-line relationships between ground features which usually do not correspond to established ground travel modes--it just seems a very quaint, 18th Century mode of speaking.

as the crow flies (idiom)
  • In a straight line, by the shortest route, as in It's only a mile as the crow flies, but about three miles by this mountain road. This idiom is based on the fact that crows, very intelligent birds, fly straight to the nearest food supply. [Late 1700s]