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Watching an old episode of Home Improvement recently,

Eavesdropping Neighbour: I was just hearing some tidbits of your conversation.

Tim: Sounds to me like you heard the whole tid.

This sounded as a dialogue writer's invention to me. Is there any known usage of the word "tid" to mean the "whole part of something" or does it have any standalone meaning?

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up vote 5 down vote accepted

The OED has four entries for tid, two as a noun, one as a verb and one as an adjective. None has the meaning ‘whole part of something’. The only use associated with tid-bit is obsolete. Even then it seems to be little more than a shortened form, as this definition by Johnson suggests:

Tid, adj. (tydder, Saxon), tender; soft; nice‥Titbi′t (properly tidbit; tid, tender, and bit), nice bit; nice food.

So, no, I think the writer was just playing with the word. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

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