The story of the proverb
Like cures like – this proverb most of the Russian speaking population hears from their parents, friends and acquaintances. However, not everyone understands its importance, because the history of this proverb is rooted in the distant past, when the wedge knocked out a wedge in the literal sense.
It is believed that the expression "fight fire with fire" is associated with a real hard-ass wood, but not with the usual when using only an axe, and special. The essence of such splitting is to use a special wedge, which hammer made axe in a crack in the wood. If the wedge gets stuck in the wood instead of split it, to knock the wedge is only possible the other, a thicker wedge driven into the top. This method was used even in ancient times, and therefore the roots of the sayings go way back.
There is an interesting version that the Russian expression was formed by analogy with the Latin proverb "similia similibus curantur" which translated into Russian language means "like cures like". It is noteworthy that expressions similar in meaning are found not only in Russian but also in English, German, French and other languages.
The meaning and use of Proverbs in the twenty-first century
Today the expression "fight fire with fire" has moved away from rural life and has acquired a broader, universal significance. According to the phraseological dictionary of the Russian literary language (Moscow: Astrel, AST. A. I. Fedorov. 2008.), this proverb means to eliminate the results of any actions by the same means that caused this action. In other words, the proverb is used when we want to say that to eliminate something it is necessary to use the reasons for its appearance. For example, when there is disease of the throat that is usually caused by exposure to cold, in some cases, to speed up the treatment I advise you to eat ice cream. This is a Prime example of a situation in which "like cures like".
The proverb is used as a positive value (as in the case of throat) and negative when I want to emphasize that people only exacerbates the situation, again and again repeating undesirable actions. In the second case, the expression takes on an ironic color and hides a ridicule of those, whose way it is pronounced. The basic meaning of the sayings will not "treatment and disposal", and "fruitless labor, repetitive nonsense".
Advice 2: How to understand the proverb
The proverb is an element of the folklore, oral national creativity. They convey centuries-old wisdom and present a short parable, which can be expressed sometimes in only three or four words. The age of many of these folk aphorisms so great that sometimes it was difficult to understand them because they use long-obsolete words and idioms, or phrases that have acquired a new meaning.
Some Proverbs may have a distorted sense only because when you paraphrase some of the words were misunderstood. This, for example, refers to a famous proverb: "got a chicken in oschip". Some play it, mistakenly replacing "oschip" on "in the soup", so the meaning of the phrase gets distorted. If in the first case it is assumed that people got into some kind of trouble and nuisance in the second – he just made a mistake, got to where he shouldn't be.
Example of how was lost the original meaning of the word, we can consider the example of the proverb "Shouts the whole Ivanovo". Modern man may think that we are talking about the Ivanovo region. In fact, the proverb referred to Ivanovskaya square, where in ancient Moscow the heralds read out Royal decrees, shouting their audience on this occasion the crowd.
Not very clear to our contemporaries and saying "twiddle" - who are the thumbs and why they are beaten, what are they guilty? This phrase has a meaning – to sit back or engage in light labor. Thumbs – thick chips, which are then carved spoons or toys, they were split from logs. Did this in winter, when the crop was harvested, and the crop had not yet begun when special Affairs in the economy was not. It was kind of fun, easy work.
In order to understand the meaning of some Proverbs, it is necessary to know the technology of manufacturing any object. For example, the phrase "was Fat became soap", talking about changing something will be more clear to someone who knows what natural soap is cooked using the fat.
To help someone who wants to learn the meaning of popular Proverbs can come the book of the famous philologist N.And.Sheiko "Proverbs of the Russian people: the Value of Proverbs and sayings; Proverbs and sayings of the war years and the Soviet period; Stories, riddles, jokes, it reveals the importance of many winged phrases, and examples of the Proverbs that were created relatively recently – in the last century.