We often see or listen to expressions or phrases in English and wonder what are their meaning, trying even to translate them into our own languages to no avail. For example, what is the meaning of the expression "WING AND A PRAYER?" If we were to translate it into Portuguese we would probably say: ASA E UMA ORAÇÃO. Right? Wrong! WING AND A PRAYER means: HOPEFUL BUT UNLIKELY TO SUCCEED. For example, the phrase "she is driving on a wing and a prayer in that old jalopy."
What is the origin of this phrase? During World War I airplanes were still a novelty and untested in war. A "wing and a prayer" was first uttered when an American flyer came in with a badly damaged wing.
His fellow pilots and mechanics were amazed he did not crash. He replied he was praying all the way in. Another pilot chimed in that "a wing and a prayer brought you back."
By the way, "jalopy" means "a very old car that does not run well."
Here is another one:
STRAIGHT FROM THE HORSE'S MOUTH: directly from the source.
Example: If you want the real story you have to get it from the horse's mouth (Go directly to those who know the real facts).
THE BUCK STOPS HERE: to take responsibility for something.
Example: when it comes to the origin of phrases, the buck stops here.