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8

No, it's not restricted to lawyers: hang out one's shingle Open an office, especially a professional practice, as in Bill's renting that office and hanging out his shingle next month. This American colloquialism dates from the first half of the 1800s, when at first lawyers, and later also doctors and business concerns, used shingles for signboards. ...


8

The earliest match I could find for "triple threat" is from "Cry of Calamity," in the Marietta [Ohio] Daily Leader (September 16, 1900): When we add to this his [William Jennings Bryan's] declaration of war against Europe on behalf of Aguinaldo, if he should himself be inaugurated so that he and Aguinaido could both be presidents at once there is a ...


7

Every source I could find seemed to place the origin of the phrase as the UK, some time in the early 1900's most likely during World War I Eric Partridge's Dictionary of Catch Phrases makes mention of "Up in Annie's Room", saying (that form) came to be around WWI, and was originally used as a response to an inquiry of an absent man's whereabouts. ...


6

The earliest Google Books match appears to be from "My Hobby,—rather" in The New Monthly Magazine (November 1834)—and it does involve a lawyer: Larry Wynn (now Lawrence Wynn, Esq.) lived here. He had, as they say in the United States, "hung out a shingle" (Londonicé, put up a sign) as attorney-at-law ; and to all the twenty thousand innocent inhabitants ...


5

Island time is one of those delightful double entendres: On the one hand it refers to pace, a certain slack attitude towards the clock. But it also refers to time well spent, away, in a place that refreshes the spirit and cleanses the soul. If you have ever been to an island in the Caribbean you have slowly sauntered up to the more famous version ...


5

The earliest source I find for "triple threat" is The British Chess Magazine, Volume 23 (1907) describes (in the old notation) a possible move among several: 1 Q — Q 2 and 1 R — Kt 3 (the latter a triple threat) are also tempting,.... This is situational. (No board diagram is given, and I didn't check the text, but apparently the rook move to the ...


4

The OED Online mentions only the sense with reference to a US football back, that is, a back who can run, pass and kick. The earliest quote given is from a 1939 publication by W. H. Baumer, Sports as taught & played at West Point. A search of "2,745,271 Newspapers — 2,779 Newspaper Titles" at Elephind suggests that the earliest uses in the popular ...


4

The exception that proves the rule is a good example. According to Wikipedia, based on Fowler’s Modern English Usage, the phrase has its origin in Roman legal doctrine, and at full length reads: Exceptio probat regulam in casibus non exceptis or The exception proves the rule in cases not excepted. For instance, though not matter for a major legal ...


3

I'm sure there are quite a few, but since we're familiar with their present meaning, it's kind of hard to know what they meant before... but here are two (I think). Birthday suit - while I'm not sure when it began as an idiom (it was literally fancy clothes one wore on one's birthday (or the king's birthday, or some such) now refers to the clothes one was ...


3

It seems highly likely that the members of Monty Python were familiar with Ben Jonson's great comedy, The Alchemist (1612), which begins (Act I, Scene 1) with this exchange between Face (a servant overseeing his master's property while the master is away on a lengthy trip) and Subtle (a con man who poses as an alchemist): Face. Beleive't, I will. ...


3

Hang out one's shingle was originally used especially for lawyers, but is now applied to any kind of profession: Open an office, especially a professional practice, as in Bill's renting that office and hanging out his shingle next month. This American colloquialism dates from the first half of the 1800s, when at first lawyers, and later also ...


2

"Beg the question" is a pet peeve for logicians, it's actually a technical term for a circular argument (from the Latin petitio principii), not to be used as a synonym for "raise the question." "More honored in the breach" is from Shakespeare. We typically use it to mean a rule more often broken than followed, but he meant it as a rule so bad it was better ...


2

The first instance of the Chicken Little story that a Google Books search finds is from "Remarkable Story of Chicken Little: An Occurrence of Everyday Life," in the [New York] Gazette of the Union and The Golden Rule (December 9, 1848): As Chicken Little was one day strolling about in a garden, she ran under a rose-bush and a leaf fell on her tail. ...


2

Yea is the original 'yes' word, cognate to German ja. Yes, which is unique to English, is (per the OED) a contraction of géa sí, where the second word is a subjunctive form of be. So yes says literally 'yea, it is', which is why it was used to give affirmative replies to negative questions, and so yea took over the role of affirmative in answer to ...


2

Samuel Johnson, A Dictionary of the English Language (1756) has this not-at-all-ominous entry for predicament: PREDICAMENT. s. {predicament, Fr. prædicamentum, Lat.} 1. A class or arrangement of beings or substances ranked according to their natures: called also categorema or category. Digby. 2. Class or kind described by any definitive marks. ...


2

It's quoting the epic poem The Song Of Roland about Charlemagne going into Spain to fight the Muslims


2

It seems like there's quite a few that are likely to turn up (and I'm going to bet a lot of them will be related to agricultural origins). Here's one of my favorites: "burying your talents" and "wasting your talents" The whole concept of talent in a modern English sense comes from a transliterated unit of money in The King James version. ...


2

Well, you're right, but did you even check one dictionary before posting? Check: (Collins) Word Origin C14: from Old French eschec a check at chess, hence, a pause (to verify something), via Arabic from Persian shāh the king! (in chess) http://www.collinsdictionary.com/dictionary/english/check


1

A rolling stone gathers no moss Rolling stones used to be uncool earlier but they are cool now. ...the original intent of the proverb saw the growth of moss as desirable, and that the intent was to condemn mobility as unprofitable. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A_rolling_stone_gathers_no_moss


1

'Doyle' a local term of endearment indeed and local colloquialism - I have grown up in Hartlepool (75 Miles North of Leeds) and still reside there now in my 48th year. And to this day I still use the word 'Doyle' for someone who is daft, fool or idiot, mainly to friends, so the word is very frequent in our everyday vocabulary.


1

J.E. Lighter, Random House Historical Dictionary of American Slang (1997) gives as a first occurrence of "off the wall" in a slang sense this exchange from a 1937 scare film, cited (with interpolated commentary) in Michael Starks, Cocaine Fiends and Reefer Madness (1982): After the usual prologue on the perils of marijuana, we find Lamont High school ...


1

'Scenario' and 'worst-case' in Merriam-Webster dictionaries "Worst-case scenario" pretty clearly arose from the cobbling together of two terms that already existed in English: the noun scenario—which Merriam-Webster's Eleventh Collegiate Dictionary (2003) dates to 1875 in the sense of "an outline or synopsis of a play," but which seems not to have acquired ...


1

The contemporary idiom, 'island time', has its origins in a generalized sense of the word 'time'. time, n., int. and conj. A., n. .... IV. In generalized sense. 35. c. Chiefly depreciative or humorous. With preceding modifying word relating to a group, country, etc.: the attitude to timekeeping associated with the specified type of people, ...


1

The earliest idiomatic use of "island time" that a Google Books search finds is from Dewey Ganzel, "Chronology in Robinson Crusoe," in Philological Quarterly, volume 40 (1961) [combined snippets]: Crusoe spent many days salvaging the ship and months securing his habitation on the island, and after he had "made ... a table and a chair" (p. 76) on November ...


1

According the "Academic and Workplace Sexual Harassment " the expression refers to the practice of moving the trash (abusive teachers) from school to school: "Passing the trash" is a common term used to indicate that the harassing/ abusive teacher (trash) gets passed to another district to teach following sexual abuse allegations. These abusers are ...



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