Origins Of Phrases (Notes; Queries; Oddities)

Ermintruder

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Young MacGuffin in the 'Brave' extract says (in broad Doric):
"If'e wis a wee bittie closer ah cud toss a caber at'im, ken? It's jist nae fair makkin us fecht fur thi haun o thi quine that disnae want ony bit o it. Ken?"

"If he was a little bit closer I could toss a caber at him, you know? It's just not fair making us fight for the hand of a girl who doesn't want anything to do with it. You know?"

As we may all know "In fiction, a MacGuffin (sometimes McGuffin) is an object, device, or event that is necessary to the plot and the motivation of the characters, but insignificant, unimportant, or irrelevant in itself"

Doric? Doric? My mother was from civilisation, i.e. Perth!

Perth is indeed exceedingly civilised*. But when I mentioned 'Yorkshire Doric', I did mean exactly that: ie the dialect and vocabulary of the county of Jórvík is known as Doric by informed philogists and an ever-decreasing number of broad Yorkshire language afficionados. I'd always know this (and the fact that there are lots of shared vocabulary examples between Aberdeen & York), but I hadn't realised that the term actually has a much-wider application viz

Screenshot 2022-02-02 222654.jpg


Screenshot 2022-02-02 221203.jpg


So although the official dictionary definitions do allude to 'ancient tongues' in the metaphorical sense of "the ancient Greek dialect of the Dorians" it's fairer to say that the word 'Doric' really appears to mean "any outmoded indigenous or aboriginal language form" (perhaps the dictionary writers need to be reminded of this....seriously).

(* ps most of Perth, and its county, is civilised. But some of its natives are savages....!)
 

JaneD

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Young MacGuffin in the 'Brave' extract says (in broad Doric):
"If'e wis a wee bittie closer ah cud toss a caber at'im, ken? It's jist nae fair makkin us fecht fur thi haun o thi quine that disnae want ony bit o it. Ken?"

"If he was a little bit closer I could toss a caber at him, you know? It's just not fair making us fight for the hand of a girl who doesn't want anything to do with it. You know?"

As we may all know "In fiction, a MacGuffin (sometimes McGuffin) is an object, device, or event that is necessary to the plot and the motivation of the characters, but insignificant, unimportant, or irrelevant in itself"



Perth is indeed exceedingly civilised*. But when I mentioned 'Yorkshire Doric', I did mean exactly that: ie the dialect and vocabulary of the county of Jórvík is known as Doric by informed philogists and an ever-decreasing number of broad Yorkshire language afficionados. I'd always know this (and the fact that there are lots of shared vocabulary examples between Aberdeen & York), but I hadn't realised that the term actually has a much-wider application viz

View attachment 51575


View attachment 51574

So although the official dictionary definitions do allude to 'ancient tongues' in the metaphorical sense of "the ancient Greek dialect of the Dorians" it's fairer to say that the word 'Doric' really appears to mean "any outmoded indigenous or aboriginal language form" (perhaps the dictionary writers need to be reminded of this....seriously).

(* ps most of Perth, and its county, is civilised. But some of its natives are savages....!)
I want all of those books. Do you think i can get them on Amazon?
 

Trevp666

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I don't know if this would be better off in a new thread titled something like "Phrases you think only your parents ever used" (or if one already exists then please move it)

My mother would look out the front windows of the house if there was (eg) a storm approaching and say "Looking dark 'over Will's mother's way'", to indicate a place within sight but far off, not quite on the horizon. I don't know where that phrase originated.

Also, if we were naughty children, she would threaten us with being sent to stay "With Mrs Brown, three doors down!".
Now, there was a Mrs Brown, but she lived 4 doors down, and she was a lovely old lady who we enjoyed visiting occasionally. So we weren't sure what our mum meant really.

We were also warned about 'pulling faces' as "if the wind changes, you'll stay that way".
 

JaneD

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I don't know if this would be better off in a new thread titled something like "Phrases you think only your parents ever used" (or if one already exists then please move it)

My mother would look out the front windows of the house if there was (eg) a storm approaching and say "Looking dark 'over Will's mother's way'", to indicate a place within sight but far off, not quite on the horizon. I don't know where that phrase originated.

Also, if we were naughty children, she would threaten us with being sent to stay "With Mrs Brown, three doors down!".
Now, there was a Mrs Brown, but she lived 4 doors down, and she was a lovely old lady who we enjoyed visiting occasionally. So we weren't sure what our mum meant really.

We were also warned about 'pulling faces' as "if the wind changes, you'll stay that way".
it’s part of ye olde family sayings - ‘it’s black over Bill’s mother’s’ along with whether cows are lying down or staring stolidly at teeming rain and intoning ‘i think it’s brightening up’ or suggesting there is enough blue sky to make a sailor a pair of trousers.
 

Mikefule

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My mother would look out the front windows of the house if there was (eg) a storm approaching and say "Looking dark 'over Will's mother's way'", to indicate a place within sight but far off, not quite on the horizon. I don't know where that phrase originated.
In Nottingham, the equivalent expression is, "It's a bit black over Bill's mother's," said whenever heavy rain appears imminent.

Older people often pronounce it with "over" rhyming with "hover" and "mother's" rhyming with "bothers".
 

PeteByrdie

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In Nottingham, the equivalent expression is, "It's a bit black over Bill's mother's," said whenever heavy rain appears imminent.

Older people often pronounce it with "over" rhyming with "hover" and "mother's" rhyming with "bothers".
I've only heard 'It's a bit dark over Will's mother's'. It's always baffled me.
 

Sollywos

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Dick's mothers was what we said in Suffolk ... I still use it. :)

I like the expression when someone has asked you where something is and you can't be bothered to help them in their search 'Oh it's up in granny's room behind the clock' which I learned off my FiL who grew up in Lancashire.
 

Mikefule

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...or suggesting there is enough blue sky to make a sailor a pair of trousers.
My wife is from Gloucestershire. Her mother moved there from Hastings. Therefore, I do not know if this expression originated in Gloucestershire or Hastings — but I do know which one is nearer to the sea. (Hastings.)

My wife's mother would say, "There's just enough [blue sky] to patch a sailor's trousers."

The expression is used when the sky is mainly overcast, but a small bit of blue sky peeps through.
 

Tunn11

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My wife is from Gloucestershire. Her mother moved there from Hastings. Therefore, I do not know if this expression originated in Gloucestershire or Hastings — but I do know which one is nearer to the sea. (Hastings.)

My wife's mother would say, "There's just enough [blue sky] to patch a sailor's trousers."

The expression is used when the sky is mainly overcast, but a small bit of blue sky peeps through.
It was always a Dutchman's trousers when I were a lad. When I asked about it I was told that blue trousers were Dutch national costume. However I can't find any reference to that; if anything they look black or possibly Prussian Blue.
 

Trevp666

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And what about the oft used description of an unquantifiable large amount of something as being "more xxxxxxx than you can shake a stick at" ?
What sort of stick?
And why shaking it?
And how?
And also, how does the shaking of a stick in the direction of something become more difficult if there is a larger quantity of it?
 

Sid

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It was always a Dutchman's trousers when I were a lad. When I asked about it I was told that blue trousers were Dutch national costume. However I can't find any reference to that; if anything they look black or possibly Prussian Blue.
1661859790380.png

Also, this alternative: I came across this (a flower - Dicentra_Cucullaria) which suggests a similar sailor's dress - which is suggesting that the saying might well have been 'white trousers,' with blue being the colour of their underwear - sounds more plausible, i.e., 'white clouds with blue patches here and there!'
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dicentra_cucullaria
 
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Tunn11

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My Mum (Eastend Londoner) would say "It'll be a dry day if there's enough blue sky to make a man's shirt".
Indicating a lack of cloud, of course, but utter tripe!
Tripe in the East End? That's jellied eel territory. :puke2:
 

Trevp666

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Don't forget cockles, and pie'n'mash'n'liquer.
 

EnolaGaia

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And what about the oft used description of an unquantifiable large amount of something as being "more xxxxxxx than you can shake a stick at" ?
What sort of stick?
And why shaking it?
And how?
And also, how does the shaking of a stick in the direction of something become more difficult if there is a larger quantity of it?

This idiom is documented only as far back as the beginning of the 19th century, of apparently American origin. AFAIK the exact analogy underlying the saying has never been proven. There are two related but distinct senses to the phrase:

- "too many to count / enumerate"
- "too many to control / manage / handle"

The first sense might derive from the common habit of pointing to things you're counting at a distance (e.g., pointing a pencil at a stack of boxes to track which you've already counted and which you haven't). One specific suggestion is that it refers to a shepherd pointing with a staff when counting sheep.

The second sense is also sometimes attributed to shepherds or cowherds, meaning more animals than you can control or direct by "shaking" your staff or a stick at them. A more common variant on this second sense concerns too many threats (e.g., attacking animals) to ward off using a wielded "stick."
 

JaneD

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My wife is from Gloucestershire. Her mother moved there from Hastings. Therefore, I do not know if this expression originated in Gloucestershire or Hastings — but I do know which one is nearer to the sea. (Hastings.)

My wife's mother would say, "There's just enough [blue sky] to patch a sailor's trousers."

The expression is used when the sky is mainly overcast, but a small bit of blue sky peeps through.
My grandma used to say this all the time and she was from about as far away from Hastings as you can get and still be in England.
 

Sid

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Don't forget cockles, and pie'n'mash'n'liquer.
As well as the sight a red-hot brazier roasting Chestnuts illuminated amongst the dense choking London fog! Breath that in without a handkerchief covering your face, and you'd be coughing up all night, once you'd blown out your nostrils many times over, then you could possibly breath normally once again. Oh, those loverly memories.
 

catseye

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I've recently had edits back for the latest book and my EDITOR (ie, a professional in all things wordy) tried to correct 'she's got another think coming' to 'she's got another THING coming.'

Research on my part proves that this latter travesty is now being accepted useage! I could possibly have let it slide, except that the first part of the sentence includes the words 'If she thinks that....' So how my editor can possibly believe that 'If she thinks that, she's got another thing coming' could ever be correct in any universe boggles my mind.

And yes, as I told my editor, this IS the hill I am prepared to die on.
 

hunck

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I've recently had edits back for the latest book and my EDITOR (ie, a professional in all things wordy) tried to correct 'she's got another think coming' to 'she's got another THING coming.'

Research on my part proves that this latter travesty is now being accepted useage! I could possibly have let it slide, except that the first part of the sentence includes the words 'If she thinks that....' So how my editor can possibly believe that 'If she thinks that, she's got another thing coming' could ever be correct in any universe boggles my mind.

And yes, as I told my editor, this IS the hill I am prepared to die on.
Could be linked to the way some people say ‘somethink’ instead of ‘something’. I’ve noticed scousers seem to be prone to this & ex-pro cyclist Chris Boardman uses it regularly in his commentaries.
 
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