To kill two birds with one stone—seems pretty violent, huh? A lot of idioms in the English may not make sense or seem down right brutal. Some of the meanings are quite easy to understand, while others leave nonnative speakers in the dark. But even if a particular idiom makes sense in regards to what it’s portraying, its origin still may be lost to time.
So, to kill two birds with one stone? The meaning: “to get two different jobs done at one time” may make sense, but why in the world would we do something so brutal?
The reason it’s such a graphic idiom dates back to the 1600’s, where it first arose, according to wiseGEEK.com. It was meant as a way for a philosopher to prove two arguments with one solution.
“The implication was that killing two birds at one time is extremely challenging and unlikely, and that the philosopher’s attempt should be viewed with extreme suspicion,” reads an article on wisegeek.
Eventually, the idiom pulled itself away from the philosopher’s argument and landed into the lap of any two things completed at once. Rather than seeing this as a violent measure tended on helpless creatures, the idiom has been encouraged and thrown into a positive light.
Whether a new sort of idiom will take over as a less violent means to the same meaning remains uncertain as the very idea of it has been ground deep in our society, like many other violent and nonviolent idioms alike.