Twice in the past few hours, I've seen the idiom "don't give it the time of day". Now, I immediately knew and understood what the people using the phrase meant, but then I realized that I didn't know why that phrase means what it means. I Googled the phrase "time of day idiom" because I was particularly interested in the origin/etymology of the "time of day" part. I readily found the meaning (which I already knew), but was stymied as to its origin (which is what I wanted). Thus, I ask: what is the origin/etymology of the idiom?
An answer at answers.com quotes American Heritage Dictionary of Idioms to the effect that to not give someone the time of day means
By contrast, an answer at tywkiwdbi.blogspot.com says:
If tywkiwdbi and Scribal Terror are right, then the expression is rather older than the AHD Dictionary of Idioms said.
Edit: The BBC Learning English presentation “Not give someone the time of day” says:
As an example of the phrase used in Shakespeare's time, consider King Henry VI, part II, Act III, scene I, as Queen Margaret speaks:
Edit 2: Another example from Shakespeare (as pointed out by ΜετάEd's reference) is from King Richard III, Act I, scene III, when Buckingham says “Good time of day unto your royal grace!”. Note, Shakespeare is believed to have written both plays about 1591; he might or might not have put 16th-century speech into the mouths of 15th-century people. Henry VI was King of England and/or France at various times between 1422 and 1471, and Richard III from 1483 until his demise in 1485.
The phrase supposes that the smallest favour you can do for somebody is telling them what time it is when they ask.
So not giving them the time of day amounts to ignoring their tiny request, and by implication ignoring them.
In your example this has extended to ignoring some thing.
protected by RegDwigнt♦ Sep 11 '12 at 12:16
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