Have you ever heard something through the grapevine? I bet you have.
I’ve heard the phrase I heard it through the grapevine my whole life; and I’ve used the phrase myself. But I’ve never given the origin of the phrase a second thought.
I was recently reading a book about the Civil War and came across the origin of the phrase.
Soon after the telegraph was invented by Samuel F. B. Morse, telegraph wires were strung up between poles in a random manner which strongly resembled vines. This led people to compare telegraph lines to grapevines-calling them grapevine telegraphs.
When rumors began to multiply and spread during the Civil War, people decided the untruths were being carried by people who were no better than those new fangled grapevine telegraphs that couldn’t be trusted to send the right message.
I would never in a million years have connected hearing something through the grapevine with telegraph wires-would you? Although, now that I know the origin of the phrase it makes perfect sense.