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This is a great way of saying that two things are so similar that there is no significant difference between them. I'm sure there are many more and thought this might make a great community wiki. How did the phrase/idiom come about and is it more prevalent in one english-speaking region than another?

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It's a phrase I'd use, and I wouldn't consider it old-fashioned. –  TRiG Jun 10 '11 at 15:17
    
Which I remember it from at least one of the O'Brian books. I believe it came from Jack Aubrey's steward, Preserved Killick, who was such a memorable abuser of the English language that I truly thought this phrase was original to him before I came across this post! –  user69120 Mar 17 at 7:58
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3 Answers 3

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This site says that it comes from a 1728 play. To the extent that it's known nowadays, though (it's not really prevalent anywhere, as far as I know), it's due to its use in Lewis Carroll's Alice in Wonderland.

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i can't recall ever hearing the phrase. –  horatio Feb 23 '11 at 19:15
    
I hear it once in a while in the UK. –  Lightness Races in Orbit Feb 6 at 19:02
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Sometimes an idiom seems like a cliche, where there is a vague meaning. When their history is seen, they are often easier to understand, and any doubt about their meaning can be put into context. It's always better to know what we mean when we use them, and have a better idea of what others are likely to think they mean. Knowing their history can color in some of the blank spaces.

For "much of muchness" - Similar - difficult to distinguish.

Credit : Pokket

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My Mistake .. Apologize . I was just getting some help.. –  Akshay Thakur Feb 23 '11 at 11:38
    
Ah. Now I feel bad. Deleting my comment:-( –  Tragicomic Feb 23 '11 at 11:50
    
I didn't get you ? –  Akshay Thakur Feb 23 '11 at 12:32
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This phrase occurs in the dialogue in one of the Aubrey/Maturin books by Patrick O'Brian (I can't remember which one). Since O'Brian was a very scholarly (not to mention entertaining) writer of historical fiction, this phrase must of been in use in late 18th- and early 19th- century.

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