Origins Of Phrases (Notes; Queries; Oddities)

Mythopoeika

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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.'
Oh dear. That's not good.
Editors are supposed to know this stuff, but some don't. This is why the English language is slowly morphing - people rarely challenge others who have set themselves up as 'experts'.
 

Sid

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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.
The link seems to lie somewhere between "think" and "thought?"
Myself (certainly not the best of an education) I would have used the words -
got another 'thing' coming, simply because that's how I've always taken that phrase to be said. However, the 'think' entry seems to have been used as the original use of the phrase.
 

Yithian

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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.'

Judas Priest fan.
 

brownmane

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Whit? Woah, woah haud on a wee meenitie here!!

In Scotland, us aulder fowk hae ayeways caa'd yir erse, yir "dowp" (an mebbies thi richt same wurd is uised doon in Yorkshire an Northummerlan? Bit am nae deid certin o' that kinna Doric ....).

'Moan yis ither feelow cairters fae thi norn pairts o' thi isle......! Aye, lykes o' @Frideswide / @Min Bannister / @Comfortably Numb (an @maximus otter oan yir mithir's side o' thi family, or siklykes kin tae ye).... Am a richt, or am a richt aboot this?
Love this. I have to read it aloud to understand it. Love the accent.
 

Sgt Girth

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Whit? Woah, woah haud on a wee meenitie here!!

In Scotland, us aulder fowk hae ayeways caa'd yir erse, yir "dowp" (an mebbies thi richt same wurd is uised doon in Yorkshire an Northummerlan? Bit am nae deid certin o' that kinna Doric ....).

'Moan yis ither feelow cairters fae thi norn pairts o' thi isle......! Aye, lykes o' @Frideswide / @Min Bannister / @Comfortably Numb (an @maximus otter oan yir mithir's side o' thi family, or siklykes kin tae ye).... Am a richt, or am a richt aboot this?

Mebbies aye……..Mebbies nooooo.
 

Coal

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Whit? Woah, woah haud on a wee meenitie here!!

In Scotland, us aulder fowk hae ayeways caa'd yir erse, yir "dowp" (an mebbies thi richt same wurd is uised doon in Yorkshire an Northummerlan? Bit am nae deid certin o' that kinna Doric ....).

'Moan yis ither feelow cairters fae thi norn pairts o' thi isle......! Aye, lykes o' @Frideswide / @Min Bannister / @Comfortably Numb (an @maximus otter oan yir mithir's side o' thi family, or siklykes kin tae ye).... Am a richt, or am a richt aboot this?
Wow, that was like being back at primary school in 1970.
 

Tunn11

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I was always intrigued by "parting shot" which I understood to have correctly been "Parthian shot" after the Parthian horse archers who had perfected the art of firing at least one aimed shot behind them when seemingly retreating.

This has become corrupted to "parting shot" but has essentially the same meaning.
 

EnolaGaia

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I was always intrigued by "parting shot" which I understood to have correctly been "Parthian shot" after the Parthian horse archers who had perfected the art of firing at least one aimed shot behind them when seemingly retreating.

This has become corrupted to "parting shot" but has essentially the same meaning.

The possible connection between "parting shot" and "Parthian shot" has been a subject of debate for a long time. Some claim "parting shot" derived from "Parthian shot"; others claim the reverse. Yet others claim it's a case of convergent evolution in which each version independently arose and disseminated.
 

ChasFink

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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.

I have always heard and said "another thing coming". It makes slightly less sense than "think", but neither makes much sense when you thing think about them. In what other contexts do you have things or thinks coming?

On the other hand, don't ever tell me you could care less, unless your voice is dripping with sarcasm.
 

maximus otter

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I have always heard and said "another thing coming". It makes slightly less sense than "think", but neither makes much sense when you thing think about them. In what other contexts do you have things or thinks coming?

On the other hand, don't ever tell me you could care less, unless your voice is dripping with sarcasm.

It’s “think”, meaning “You need to reconsider.”

The American misuse of the phrase, “l couldn’t care less” has long grieved me. (Also the US mangling of the expression, “The proof of the pudding is in the eating.”)

:dunno:

maximus otter
 

catseye

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I have always heard and said "another thing coming". It makes slightly less sense than "think", but neither makes much sense when you thing think about them. In what other contexts do you have things or thinks coming?

On the other hand, don't ever tell me you could care less, unless your voice is dripping with sarcasm.
Max is right. The full phraise is (as I had in the book) "If you think XXX , then you have another think coming" - as in you are wrong and need to think about this again. 'Another thing coming' makes absolutely no sense whatsoever in the full phrase, but so many people only use the version 'Well, you've got another think/thing coming then, haven't you?' where neither word makes much sense. But if people just read more they'd SEE what the correct version is, rather than relying on people mishearing and replicating the misheard version for years.
 

Stormkhan

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To make sense of "Another think coming", you could use the sentence: The thought came to her. She had to think again.
Really, it's a colloquial usage - the speaker knows full well that using 'think' in the sentence sounds wrong; it's trying to inject some humour into the phrase.
It's like the well-known "Who done it" being turned into whodunit, whodunnit and all other spelling permutations. The original phrase in formal language should be "Who did it?"
I've always been baffled by "cheap at half the price". So, if an item was £1, half the price would be 50p ... and that would be cheaper indeed. If comparing to another seller, say X is selling the item at £5, it would be cheaper at twice the price? :dunno:
 

EnolaGaia

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Right on schedule ... Every two years the "another think coming" debate surfaces. Check the 2018 and 2020 versions in:

The Continuing Insult To The English Language
https://forums.forteana.org/index.php?threads/the-continuing-insult-to-the-english-language.31931/

The original and correct version is "another think coming."

'Thnk' is / can be a noun, meaning "an act or instance of thinking." This usage comes from British English, and it's in the dictionaries. The phrase "another think coming" can be traced back at least as far as the early 19th century in American English.

The more recent "another thing coming" is an erroneous variation on this old phrase that seems to have arisen because folks had forgotten or couldn't understand the original version.
 

brownmane

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Right on schedule ... Every two years the "another think coming" debate surfaces. Check the 2018 and 2020 versions in:

The Continuing Insult To The English Language
https://forums.forteana.org/index.php?threads/the-continuing-insult-to-the-english-language.31931/

The original and correct version is "another think coming."

'Thnk' is / can be a noun, meaning "an act or instance of thinking." This usage comes from British English, and it's in the dictionaries. The phrase "another think coming" can be traced back at least as far as the early 19th century in American English.

The more recent "another thing coming" is an erroneous variation on this old phrase that seems to have arisen because folks had forgotten or couldn't understand the original version.
As a kid, I heard (aurally) "thing", but as I grew older and read constantly, I saw the correct word. I don't really know if, when I was a child, people were using "think" or "thing".
 

PeteByrdie

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I've always been baffled by "cheap at half the price". So, if an item was £1, half the price would be 50p ... and that would be cheaper indeed. If comparing to another seller, say X is selling the item at £5, it would be cheaper at twice the price? :dunno:
Isn't it just a humorous riff on 'cheap at twice the price,' as in, 'Buy this because it's so cheap it would still be cheap if the price were doubled.' So, when you want to say actually it's quite expensive, you change it to, 'Cheap at half the price.'
 

Coal

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I've always been baffled by [SARCASM]"cheap at half the price"[/SARCASM]. So, if an item was £1, half the price would be 50p ... and that would be cheaper indeed. If comparing to another seller, say X is selling the item at £5, it would be cheaper at twice the price? :dunno:
Possibly ftfy.
 

catseye

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Right on schedule ... Every two years the "another think coming" debate surfaces. Check the 2018 and 2020 versions in:

The Continuing Insult To The English Language
https://forums.forteana.org/index.php?threads/the-continuing-insult-to-the-english-language.31931/

The original and correct version is "another think coming."

'Thnk' is / can be a noun, meaning "an act or instance of thinking." This usage comes from British English, and it's in the dictionaries. The phrase "another think coming" can be traced back at least as far as the early 19th century in American English.

The more recent "another thing coming" is an erroneous variation on this old phrase that seems to have arisen because folks had forgotten or couldn't understand the original version.
This is why I am so baffled at my editor's insistence on the wrong useage. She's hot on grammar and correct word useage (and often pulls me up on my slightly eccentric twisting of the English language), so to have her be so blatantly WRONG was quite an event.

However, we are now in copyedits and she's left my 'think' alone this time round. But she hasn't acknowledged that I was right all along!
 

catseye

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Ah, but does her 'correct' word usage include colloquial expressions?
She will often query it when I use Yorkshire phraseology, and had a lot of bother with the phrase 'that there' as in 'I was sitting in that there chair...' in speech. But as long as I can qualify it as local dialect I normally get away with it. I was just not prepared to let 'another thing coming'...err...go.
 

EnolaGaia

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Rule the roost:). Typo or autocorrect?

No ... The earlier "rule the roast" was attested / documented at least as far back as the 16th century. "Rule the roost" seems to have emerged in the 18th century, after which it progressively replaced the earlier version. The issue of whether this represents a successful mistake or some sort of parallel development has been debated ever since.
 

Lb8535

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No ... The earlier "rule the roast" was attested / documented at least as far back as the 16th century. "Rule the roost" seems to have emerged in the 18th century, after which it progressively replaced the earlier version. The issue of whether this represents a successful mistake or some sort of parallel development has been debated ever since.
Probably it was no longer completely normal to have a large fireplace in the common room where everyone could see dinner roasting and one person in charge of it, so "roast" made less sense.
 

EnolaGaia

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Probably it was no longer completely normal to have a large fireplace in the common room where everyone could see dinner roasting and one person in charge of it, so "roast" made less sense.

Yes - that's one of the factors that makes the situation ambiguous. Another source of uncertainty concerns whether "rule the roast" arose in reference to (e.g.) a chef / cook in charge of preparing meals, a head of household privileged to carve the main entree, or something else entirely.

In a somewhat similar vein, it's often suggested that "rule the roost" became the more common version because it more readily reflected the implied meaning (being a dominant presence; analogy with "cock of the walk").
 

Sid

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Yes - that's one of the factors that makes the situation ambiguous. Another source of uncertainty concerns whether "rule the roast" arose in reference to (e.g.) a chef / cook in charge of preparing meals, a head of household privileged to carve the main entree, or something else entirely.

In a somewhat similar vein, it's often suggested that "rule the roost" became the more common version because it more readily reflected the implied meaning (being a dominant presence; analogy with "cock of the walk").
Person in charge of either ruling the roast (such as a side of meat on a spit?), and also, ruling the roost (ruling the proceedings in a gathering) which also applies to a Rooster (Cock Bird) in a Chicken Coop.
 

Squail

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Personal note re the "roast / roost" question: I'm in my seventies -- from earliest years, had been aware of the expression "rule the roost": it was only decades on, that I came across the "rule the roast" version -- if I recall rightly, in Regency-setting fiction (Georgette Heyer, maybe?). I was so used to the other version, that the "roast" one (although it makes sense) felt goofy and strange to me, and still does. I see "ruling the roost" as making good sense -- in that the "rooster" synonym for cockerel, has (genuinely, I believe) connotations of a diligent and conscientious one -- in so far as birds can be such things -- who will, as well as copulating with his hens, look after them; including that they're safely tucked in to roost overnight.

Free reign. No, it does not mean to rule, the phrase is 'free rein', what you give a horse when you let it choose its own speed and path.

Have often seen this modification explained as: the great majority of people nowadays, are oblivious to any sort of lore about riding or driving horses; but are more au fait with monarchy-related stuff -- "free rein" means nothing to them, so they parlay it into "free reign": which is basically sense-making, though with -- as catseye says -- implications of large-scale domination / control, rather than just one's horse(s) controlling the journey.
 

catseye

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Personal note re the "roast / roost" question: I'm in my seventies -- from earliest years, had been aware of the expression "rule the roost": it was only decades on, that I came across the "rule the roast" version -- if I recall rightly, in Regency-setting fiction (Georgette Heyer, maybe?). I was so used to the other version, that the "roast" one (although it makes sense) felt goofy and strange to me, and still does. I see "ruling the roost" as making good sense -- in that the "rooster" synonym for cockerel, has (genuinely, I believe) connotations of a diligent and conscientious one -- in so far as birds can be such things -- who will, as well as copulating with his hens, look after them; including that they're safely tucked in to roost overnight.



Have often seen this modification explained as: the great majority of people nowadays, are oblivious to any sort of lore about riding or driving horses; but are more au fait with monarchy-related stuff -- "free rein" means nothing to them, so they parlay it into "free reign": which is basically sense-making, though with -- as catseye says -- implications of large-scale domination / control, rather than just one's horse(s) controlling the journey.
I think you can also throw in the fact that people don't read as much any more. If they've never seen a phrase written down, they will use the phrase that sounds nearest to what they've heard that they can rationalise.

Free rein was always written as 'free rein' in the past. It's only lately, with the prevalence of poor spelling and mishearings being spread about online, that the uses/spellings are changing.
 
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