You’ve probably heard the saying “the genie is out of the bottle” or “let the genie out of the bottle” a few times. While the meaning is pretty clear, you might be shocked to learn the origins of the phrase don’t have a lot to do with real genies (or djinn), but with something more…destructive.
Category: Genie in the Lamp Origin
Genie lamps are often depicted as small, oval-shaped golden or bronze vessels with a lid, a handle, and a narrow spout. In other words, genie lamps look like really expensive teapots. Why, then, do we call them lamps, and why are genies supposed to be trapped inside?
Where did the story of a genie in a bottle granting three wishes come from? Did it originate as a single tale and split from there, or does the genie in a lamp have grander origins?
Genies are usually paired with lamps in the western world. The genie/lamp significance is tied directly to these tales, creating unique symbolism surrounding these spirits from the ancient Middle East.
What’s the deeper significance of the genie in the lamp story, though? Were these tales told just for entertainment, or was there a deeper meaning with genies and lamps? Below we’ll explore a few ideas about what the genie trapped in a lamp story could really mean.