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I've stumbled over some dialogue in a textbook, where some people have a chat at work, and at the end, when they get back to their urgent tasks, one character says (emph. mine):

Well, I'd better let you carry on then. No rest for the wicked.

Now, I've found out where the phrase comes from, but I do not quite follow in which context it can be "used for mild comic effect".

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"When is 'no rest for the wicked' used?" At Cage The Elephant concerts. –  zzzzBov Jul 15 '13 at 1:00
    
There's another version of this expression, used interchangeably and nearly as often: "No rest for the weary." This, in turn, leads to an old favorite joke, in which a large lady is kicked off of the Overland stagecoach because her butt's too big to fit. As he's escorting her off the stage, the conductor apologizes: "I'm sorry, ma'am - there's no West for the reary." –  MT_Head Jul 15 '13 at 2:53

1 Answer 1

up vote 12 down vote accepted

It's an idiom, generally used when somebody is expressing their belief that they (or someone else) has to work without rest. 'For the wicked' is a somewhat tongue-in-cheek expression implying that the reason the person is having to work is as a punishment for their being wicked, but this meaning is never literally intended.

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protected by tchrist Jun 30 at 19:04

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