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Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Deaf as a banana

Ever wonder why people are always dead as a doornail, deaf as a post, or dumb as a rock, but never dead as a post, dumb as a doornail, or deaf as a rock? Phrase origin dictionaries always describe the obscure ancient works of literature in which these expressions first appeared, as if this explains why we're still using them. Why, World Wide Words explains, dead as a doornail comes from The Vision of Piers Plowman written in the 1400s, of course. 
Yes, but I've never heard of The Vision of Piers Plowman. Did I miss out on some cultural phenomenon? I mean, there was this show on Nickelodeon that coined the phrase sucks hose water, which I think is way better, but nobody's still saying that. Do they even still make special nails for doors anymore? My door's made out of some kind of metal, and it's got screws, but no nails. 

1 comment:

Cap'n Ergo "XL+1" Jinglebollocks said...

"mind, I've always considered a coffin nail to be the deadest piece of ironmongery in the trade, but the wisdom of our ancestors is in the simile, and my unhallowed hand shan't change it or else the country's done for. You will permit me to repeat, emphatically, that Marley was as dead as a doornail."

---Charles Dickens

Great minds both think alike and are irked by th' same things, it would seem...