Shooting Your Wad:
|courtesy of votesprout.com|
|Courtesy of hunter-ed.com|
The saying dates back to the Revolutionary War when combatants needed to cram loads into rifles and flintlock pistols, but it is still apropos today--as shown in this diagram, modern bullets and shotgun shells contain "wads" to separate shot from propellant.
Back in the days when men dueled to defend their honor, nervous combatants were likely to fire their weapons quickly. Those old pistols were anything but accurate, and a combatant who "shot his wad" hastily without aiming, would be forced to wait while his opponent took careful aim and returned fire.
Throwing Out the Baby With the Bathwater:
The phase "throwing out the baby with the bathwater" is connected to the old practice of entire households sharing a single tub of hot water. In the days before modern plumbing, filling a bath with hot water was quite a task and the general public only bathed on a monthly basis.
When families filled their tubs with water, the male head of the household took the first turn, followed by other males, then females and finally babies would be bathed. By the time the babies were placed in the tub, the water would be so filthy that that they could disappear in the murky depths--hence, people needed to make sure they didn't"throw out their babies with their bathwater."
According to Wikipedia, the first known usage of this phrase is in a German book called Appeal to Fools, published in 1512.
Pick Your Poison: