Origins Of Phrases (Notes; Queries; Oddities)

anne_of_28_days

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anybody know the origin of the phrase

someone walked across my grave
or someone stepped on my grave?

my grandmother, who was german but grew up in the states, used to say this. was it said in the uk?
 

escargot

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I heard this when I was a little kid ** years ago, when it meant 'I had a sudden cold shudder.'

Used to puzzle me as obviously a person who is alive has no grave yet.

Yup, on reflection, I'm still baffled.
:confused:
 

Imperial_Call

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I've heard the expression "a goose walking over your grave" (when someone shudders) don't know where tho' ...
 

liveinabin

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I understood it to mean that someone was walking on the spot where your grave will be.
 

Jerry_B

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liveinabin said:
I understood it to mean that someone was walking on the spot where your grave will be.

Rather tricky if you intend to be buried at sea... ;)
 

anne_of_28_days

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someone sent me this explanation, which could be swift's literal meaning:


It is sometimes used to describe myoclonis or "myoclonic jerks," the kind of bedtime jerks that occur for no particular reason. When you think about it, the sleeper looks not unlike a casket dweller, and the "walking" could explain the weird phenomenon.


James Whitehead said:
According to this site:

http://voxx.demon.co.uk/eccent/eccdisp.php?filename=00000098.txt


My teachers told me Swift never used a metaphore, so I guess he meant it literally!
 

rjmrjmrjm

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There was quite an atmosphere of deterministic thinking in the 1800s. This led to the victorians pre-occupation with death and that everyone would die at sometime or other, so the Swwift context seems about right.

Why it became assosiated with jerks or shivers is still a mystery.
 
A

Anonymous

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My Future Grave Detector (patent pending) allows me to pin point the future graves of specific individuals. I have used this in the business world to walk over the graves of my competitors at vital moments to discumbobulate them during crucial negotiations.

Patrick H
 

Swifty

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I found this quite interesting ..

They used to use urine to tan animal skins, so families used to all pee in a pot & then once a day it was taken & Sold to the tannery.......if you had to do this to survive you were "Piss Poor."

But worse than that were the really poor folk who couldn't even afford to buy a pot......they "didn't have a pot to piss in" & were the lowest of the low. ...

Baths consisted of a big tub filled with hot water. The man of the house had the privilege of the nice clean water, then all the other sons and men, then the women and finally the children. Last of all the babies. By then the water was so dirty you could actually lose someone in it.. Hence the saying, "Don't throw the baby out with the Bath water!"

Houses had thatched roofs-thick straw-piled high, with no wood underneath. It was the only place for animals to get warm, so all the cats and other small animals (mice, bugs) lived in the roof. When it rained it became slippery and sometimes the animals would slip and fall off the roof... Hence the saying "It's raining cats and dogs." ...

The floor was dirt. Only the wealthy had something other than dirt. Hence the saying, "Dirt poor." The wealthy had slate floors that would get slippery in the winter when wet, so they spread thresh (straw) on the floor to help keep their footing. As the winter wore on, they added more thresh until, when you opened the door, it would all start slipping outside. A piece of wood was placed in the entrance-way. Hence: a thresh hold.

In those old days, they cooked in the kitchen with a big kettle that always hung over the fire. Every day they lit the fire and added things to the pot. They ate mostly vegetables and did not get much meat. They would eat the stew for dinner, leaving leftovers in the pot to get cold overnight and then start over the next day. Sometimes stew had food in it that had been there for quite a while. Hence the rhyme: Peas porridge hot, peas porridge cold, peas porridge in the pot nine days old. Sometimes they could obtain pork, which made them feel quite special. When visitors came over, they would hang up their bacon to show off. It was a sign of wealth that a man could, "bring home the bacon." They would cut off a little to share with guests and would all sit around and chew the fat. ...

Bread was divided according to status. Workers got the burnt bottom of the loaf, the family got the middle, and guests got the top, or the upper crust. ...

England is old and small and the local folks started running out of places to bury people. So they would dig up coffins and would take the bones to a bone-house, and reuse the grave. When reopening these coffins, 1 out of 25 coffins was found to have scratch marks on the inside and they realized they had been burying people alive... So they would tie a string on the wrist of the corpse, lead it through the coffin and up through the ground and tie it to a bell. Someone would have to sit out in the graveyard all night (the graveyard shift.) to listen for the bell; thus, someone could be, saved by the bell or was considered a dead ringer.
 
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Swifty

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mikfez

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What does the phrase "draws the feet" mean?
I'd only heard it in The Goon Show up to now (Grytpype-Thynne mentions that pumps don't draw the feet) but I've just come across it in Agatha Christie - Poirot is told that patent leather shoes "draw the feet"
I assume it's a polite way of saying sweating.
 

escargot

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What does the phrase "draws the feet" mean?
I'd only heard it in The Goon Show up to now (Grytpype-Thynne mentions that pumps don't draw the feet) but I've just come across it in Agatha Christie - Poirot is told that patent leather shoes "draw the feet"
I assume it's a polite way of saying sweating.
The phrase baffled me back in the '70s when I read it in a memoir of the 1930s.* A female cook in a big country house complained as 'ow them shoes didn't 'alf draw 'er feet. Made no sense to me at the time and I never did pin down a meaning.

*By Monica Dickens, direct descendant of Charles Dickens, no less.
 

Yithian

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The phrase baffled me back in the '70s when I read it in a memoir of the 1930s.* A female cook in a big country house complained as 'ow them shoes didn't 'alf draw 'er feet. Made no sense to me at the time and I never did pin down a meaning.

*By Monica Dickens, direct descendant of Charles Dickens, no less.

Materials--those from which shoes and socks are made--'draw' the feet when they (supposedly) draw sweat and/or blood to the feet and cause them to swell.

I have no idea whether this is actually the case, but there used to be much debate as to how porous materials would allow the feet to 'breathe', where less porous ones would not.

It took me ages to find an example that actually makes this clear, but this one seems to:

I bathed my weary swollen feet in the clear cold water of the lake & it was a great relief to the pain, for to add to my troubles I was wearing a new pair of shoes & that always draws my feet.

Source:
https://archive.org/stream/HistorysApprenticeBHRoberts/Historys Apprentice-BH Roberts_djvu.txt
 

EnolaGaia

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I put some effort into digging for clues as to what "drawing the feet" may mean in the context of shoes or boots, and it turned out to be a near-futile quest.

It's clear the phrase "draw the feet" was in popular usage in Britain and the USA at least as far back as the early 19th century, and it was common enough to be used without any explanation.

I couldn't locate any dictionary or glossary that mentioned or defined this specific usage of "draw." As late as the 1940s this lack of formal definition bedeviled the compiler of an American folk lexicon:

draw, v., among the many definitions in NID, that conveyed in the expression "draw the feet" when leather shoes are worn without the intervention of stockings does not seem to be represented.

NOTE: NID = (Webster's) New International Dictionary (1908; 1934)

Grant County, Indiana, Speech and Song
(1946)
W. L. McAxee
https://www.horntip.com/html/books_...diana_speech__william_l_mcatee_(PB)/index.htm

Furthermore, it's not clear that the phrase was always used to denote the same effect or issue over the last two centuries (or more). The alleged causes for shoes' or boots' "drawing the feet" were diverse and made it difficult to infer the nature of the effect.

In some cases "drawing the feet" was cited in combination with other shoe problems (e.g., heating; sweating) without indicating whether they were connected or all part of the same issue. For example:

India rubber world . RUBBERS. APSLEY ADJUSTABLE INVINCIBLE RUBBERS Many persons do not wish to wear ordinary rubber shoes, for the reason that they heat and draw the feet.

- From an ad for Apsley Rubbers
 

EnolaGaia

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I then did some brainstorming on which version of the word "draw" might be the one invoked in the phrase "draw the feet."

Yith's allusion to "draw" implies a 'drawing out' (figuratively, a sort of suction effect) that causes the feet to swell.

Related to this 'suction' allusion ... I recall from childhood shoes and boots purchased with enough extra space to allow for growth that 'sucked' my socks downward when I walked in them - to the extent they'd be half-off my foot and required removing my shoes to adjust them back into place.

As an elderly person with swelling foot issues, I've often found the reverse effect - i.e., snug shoes causing my otherwise swollen feet to 'draw up' / 'draw in' to their original un-swollen proportions.

I found a recent Amazon review of some women's sheepskin-lined moccasin styled slippers lauded for the fact they didn't "draw the feet." This made me wonder if "draw" might simply mean being loose enough to allow the foot to slip / slide deeper than required (or desired) into the shoe's interior.

CLUE: These possibilities made me suspect the mysterious allusion to "drawing" might well have something to do with how the shoes fit.
 

EnolaGaia

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This connection to fitting seems to have been the focus of an early 19th century book contrasting British and French shoemaking expertise and products ...

... The Spectator of the 15th Dec., 1838, thus notices the absence of style in our boots and shoes: “A clumsy boot was till lately a distinguishing mark of a true Englishman abroad; now travellers get their feet neatly fitted in France, while all at home, who regard personal appearance, prefer French boots, and the predilection of the fair sex for shoes of Paris manufacture is notorious.”

This competition has had the effect of improving the homemade article: but still it is easier to bawl for prohibiting duties than to beat the foreign work men out of the market. An intelligent cordwainer, named James Devlin, an experienced workman of a literary turn, has put forth a little book on the boot and shoe trade of France, recommending to his brethren of the craft the adoption of the French method, which he describes with technical minuteness, and denouncing in his strictures on the character of English upper-leathers, the hurried and careless process of the tanner and currier. What Mr. Devlin says on the subject of leather, accounts for the difference between a French boot that draws on like a glove, and an ordinary English one that confines the foot as in a vice, and hangs about the leg like a clog.

The Book of the Feet: A History of Boots and Shoes
Joseph Sparkes Hall, 2018, pp. 85 - 86.

Some ladies, however, can not bear any leather—the material best adapted for such is the Pannuscorium, or leather-cloth. This invention has met with very extensive patronage from a class whose feet require something softer even than the softest leather.
As it resembles the finest leather in appearance, and has many of the best properties of the usual cordovan, and not having like it to be tanned and curried, it does not draw the feet; its peculiar softness and pliability, therefore, at once commend it to the notice of those persons who have corns and tender feet.

pp. 120 -121

SOURCE: https://www.gutenberg.org/files/56978/56978-h/56978-h.htm
 

EnolaGaia

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By the late 19th / early 20th century "drawing the feet" came to be contextualized with respect to the type of leather (natural; processed; synthetic) used to construct the shoe / boot. In particular, parallels were drawn between certain tanning methods and a tendency to induce or promote "drawing the feet."
FORTUNATE FEET are those that enjoy the comfortable ease afforded by the "Walk-Over" shoe. Cheap leathers "draw" the feet and make them sore. As "Walk-Over" shoes never do this, the argument seems obvious. There is nothing cheap about the "Walk-Over" except its price. Material, Style, Inside and Outside Finish and every little detail in the manufacture suggests only high-grade work. Slip into a pair of "Walk-Over" shoes and learn the true definition comfort and durability. Every size and every style for every shaped foot.
The Times, Clay Center, Kansas, Thursday, December 5, 1907

Soft skins and flexible soles help, but it is perfect tanning that makes the WALK-OVER the ideal shoe for summer wear. Shoes made from leather of a common tannage "draw" the feet. It's the heat acting upon the chemicals used in tanning. A pair of WALK-OVER Summer Oxfords will insure perfect foot comfort.
The Oregon mist. (St. Helens, Columbia County, Or.), June 25, 1909
Ukiah Dispatch Democrat, Ukiah, California, Friday, April 15, 1910

ChromeTanningIssues.jpg
Hide and Leather (trade newspaper), Chicago, January 1, 1916

Note that the second quote above mentions heat acting upon the chemicals used in tanning. Heat apparently isn't the problem; it's part of the cause. The separation of "drawing" and heated feet seems clear in this 1935 patent application:

Actual tests of the material ... have demonstrated that my artificial leather composition is comfortable to the substantially respirable and waterproof, prevents the entry of moisture through the shoe and yet does not draw the feet nor cause the feet to sweat or heat.
PATENT OFFICE 2,146,771 I ARTIFICIAL LEATHER COMPOSITION
Horace A. Sheesley,
Tufide Products Corporation, a corporation of Maine Application
October so, 1935, Serial No. 47,512
Patented Feb. 14, 1939
 

EnolaGaia

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The complaints about tanning methods seemed to always focus on the way those methods left the shoe leather susceptible to drying out, becoming brittle (i.e., holding its creased / worn form), and cracking.

Once again, it seemed the problem of "drawing the foot" had much to do with fit and comfort. This implied the effect concerned the shoe's interior.
When you show RINEX-soled shoes to a
customer you can say: —

RINEX is a composition — mostly vegetable
RINEX contains just enough rubber to make it waterproof.
RINEX Soles are wholly different from either rubber or leather soles.
RINEX is flexible as rubber, but will not draw the feet, or slip on wet pavements. ...

Hmmmm ... It would appear "drawing the feet" is somehow linked to something being too flexible ...

Canvas shoes with rubber soles have some advantages over leather shoes, such as the protection of the foot against dampness and the extra comfort and elasticity. These shoes are noiseless, and will not mar floors like the heavier shades of leather shoes sometimes do. Genuine leather insoles prevent "drawing" of the foot, which inevitably results where only cotton insoles are used. ...

... and it has some relationship with the insole ...

Footwear in Canada
Vol. VII.— No. 1 Toronto, January, 191?

https://archive.org/stream/footwearincanada1917/footwearincanada1917_djvu.txt
 

EnolaGaia

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The American Walk-Over shoe company / brand dates back to the 18th century as a high-end manufacturer. They pride themselves on being able to fit anyone's feet and to provide remarkably comfortable shoes.
FORTUNATE FEET are those that enjoy the comfortable ease afforded by the "Walk-Over" shoe. Cheap leathers "draw" the feet and make them sore. As "Walk-Over" shoes never do this, the argument seems obvious. There is nothing cheap about the "Walk-Over" except its price. Material, Style, Inside and Outside Finish and every little detail in the manufacture suggests only high-grade work. Slip into a pair of "Walk-Over" shoes and learn the true definition comfort and durability. Every size and every style for every shaped foot.
The Times, Clay Center, Kansas, Thursday, December 5, 1907

... And it was in a 1909 advertisement for Walk-Over and other name-brand shoes that I found the only explanation for what "drawing the feet" may mean:

Why Most New Shoes "Draw" the Feet
When you buy a pair of shoes with "flat" inner soles there is a drawing sensation present until the big joint of your great toe has made a "cradle" for itself in the sole. Until this "cradle" has been formed all the bones of the foot are thrown out of gear and comfort is impossible. You must have new shoes occasionally but why cast the painful burden of molding the souls on your feet when you can buy WALK - OVERS, " " QUEEN-QUALITY " and "FLORS-HEIMS" right here in town? Our innersoles are molded in the factory under 500 pounds pressure while the sole is "green" and in its most pliable state.

The Olathe Mirror, Olathe, Kansas, Thursday, November 11, 1909
https://www.newspapers.com/newspage/60453330/

The Raleigh Herald, Beckley, West Virginia, Thursday, April 29, 1909
https://www.newspapers.com/newspage/6815733/

NOTE: I don't know whether this early 20th century usage of the phrase matches whatever was meant back in the 19th century (and possibly even earlier ... ), but I'm gonna declare sufficient victory and stop here. :evillaugh:
 

GNC

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I thought this thread would be about Rob Liefeld.
 

mikfez

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Too many posts to quote > Thanks EnolaGaia for all your work :)
 
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