Saturday, November 8, 2014

To hide your light under a bushel

Here's a strange idiom meaning to be overly modest about your abilities or achievements or not to demonstrate what you can do.

It's inspiration comes from the bible in the Gospel of Luke 8:16-18

"No one, when he has lit a lamp, puts it in a cellar or under a basket, but on a stand, that those who come in may see the light."

But what about the bushel? A bushel was a container and specifically, one used for weighing grain. It's one of the old measurements that make little sense in our modern, mostly metric world.

Here's a simple conversion chart:

1 imperial bushel = 8 imperial gallons
= 4 imperial pecks
= 36.36872 litres
≈ 8.2565 US dry gallons
≈ 9.6076 US fluid gallons
≈ 2219.36 cubic inches

1 US bushel = 8 US dry gallons
= 4 US pecks
= 2150.42 cubic inches
≈ 9.3092 US fluid gallons
≈ 35.2391 litres
≈ 7.7515 imperial gallons

Now just imagine the situation - you don't have a calculator and you need to convert bushels to tonnes - oh yeah, and you need to explain it to people while writing backwards.

Apart from the fact that you'd have to ask why, you need someone who's not going to hide their light under a bushel. Cue Julia - she makes it look so easy!