I would like to know the exact origin of the "blow hot and cold" idiomatic expression and when it was first used in English. The following source says it is of Greek origin.

closed as off-topic by Mari-Lou A, David, Davo, Skooba, Nigel J Dec 16 '17 at 0:17

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  • @Mari-LouA - the research added does not answer the whole question. Anyway thanks for your support. – user240918 Dec 15 '17 at 12:42
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    Why do you reject Aesop as a source? – Rob_Ster Dec 15 '17 at 16:01
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    The following source says it is of Greek origin. Deleting the link is also deleting the "source". Your statement makes no sense now. Instead, find a dictionary reference which does NOT say where or how the saying originated and then post that reference with its link. – Mari-Lou A Dec 16 '17 at 14:52

According to the AHD it derives from one of Aesop’s fables and was later used by different writers with the current meaning;

Change one's mind, vacillate, as in Jean's been blowing hot and cold about taking a winter vacation. •

This expression comes from Aesop's fable (c. 570 b.c.) about a man eating with a satyr on a winter day. At first the man blew on his hands to warm them and then blew on his soup to cool it. The satyr thereupon renounced the man's friendship because he blew hot and cold out of the same mouth.

The AHD citation is from the early 17th century:

The expression was repeated by many writers, most often signifying a person who could not be relied on. William Chillingworth put it: "These men can blow hot and cold out of the same mouth to serve several purposes" ( The Religion of Protestants, 1638).

Evidence from Google Books suggests that the expression entered the English language in the first half of the 17 th century, at least in writing.

  • What about this resource? theidioms.com/blow-hot-and-cold I found it most descriptive and clear. – Tejinder Feb 18 '18 at 10:06
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    @Tejinder I could find out the users who approved your edit, but that is only incidentally relevant. Why would you delete the link to the source (AmericanHeritageDictionary)? Adding a link is an act of courtesy for visitors who might like to know more and it is supporting evidence. – Mari-Lou A Feb 18 '18 at 11:43
  • I checked, I have enough rep to see the history of approved edits, and it was user5768790 himself who approved of it. The mind boggles. @Tejinder, user576 blah, blah's source is actually better than your link, it says "which" Aesop tale the saying is derived. Your link (idioms.com) defines the meaning and says it originated with Aesop, but stops there. – Mari-Lou A Feb 18 '18 at 11:52
  • @Mari-LouA - fat fingers error, I though I had pressed “reject”. Anyway no more really much of an issue. The question has already been soundly closed!! – – user240918 Feb 18 '18 at 12:00
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    @Tejinder what does it matter 'where" it's from? The AHD cited by user576870 is far more authoritative and respected a source than a website created by unknown persons. The idiom.com page explains the meanings of the various idiom well but you specifically asked for its origins. And that site doesn't go into any great depth of detail. Anyway, I'm glad to see that you know how to Google. :) – Mari-Lou A Feb 18 '18 at 12:18

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