Yo students! Hisashiburi~
Me: “Today we’ll be looking at a particular idiom. Can anyone guess what it is?”
Student (Iris): “Blood is thicker than water!”
Me: “Iris. What did I say about using your telepathic powers in class?”
Student (Iris): “Erm… It’s on the blackboard…”
Me: *turns around* “Oh…”
Students: *awkward silence*
Me: “Well class, I was just joking! Iris totally doesn’t have telepathy ha ha ha… MOVING ON.”
Akame ga Kill! Episode 15
Currently, this idiom is mainly used to imply that blood relations are more important than common ties, such as friendship. Also, it can also be said by family members themselves to remind one another not to forsake their family relationships for a friend or an acquaintance.
In my opinion, we should not blindly just follow this idiom, but instead, just keep this idiom in mind when making decisions. Of course, family is the most important thing in the world. But, friends, especially those that are there for you when you need help, are important too! In other words, blood may be thicker than water, but water is also quite thick and viscous, as compared to acetone and gasoline.
Anyway, here’s the interesting fact. The meaning of this idiom has actually been flipped around along the decades.
Students: “WHATTT! HONTOU DESU KA?”
Student (Jovan): “Then, what is the original meaning of this idiom?”
The first recorded instance of this idiom was in the year 1180, in Reynard the Fox by Heinrich der Glîchezære, in which he wrote this: “Kin-blood is not spoilt by water.” Then, after a few centuries later, this idiom gained popularity in its modern form: “Blood is thicker than water.” During those times, it actually meant that the blood of the covenant is thicker than the water of the womb, or in other words, ties made through loyalty are stronger than kinship; friends made through bloodshed are more important than family. This is because wars were much more common in those days, and so, the bonds made in the army were actually very precious. The soldiers would spend their lives, until the day they die, with these fellow comrades around them, eating together, sleeping together, and well, they were also prepared to die together…
In Chinese legends, there is this fable called 《三国演义》, in which, there is a famous Chinese quote by three people: “不求同年同月同日生，只求同年同月同日死“. It simply means that, even though they were not born at the same time, they swear that they will die at the same time. Although they have no blood relation, they have a common goal, which allowed them to swear loyalty to each other and are willing to sacrifice their lives for one another.
Anyways, going back to topic, the meaning of the idiom has since, experienced a 180 degrees change, probably due to a lower amount of wars now. Therefore, in the army, lives are not really at stake, and thus, the bonds formed are not as strong as before.
Either way, I believe that both family and friends are important to us in their own ways, and we should always treasure them and appreciate their presence in our lives. Sometimes, we might be stuck between the two and would have to prioritise one over the other, but I hope that everyone can weigh the pros and cons of both sides of the coin and carry out what they regard as the best course of action.
That’s it for history class. Next period’s ‘Organism Science‘ again, so make sure you reach the laboratory on time! Thank you class 🙂