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Posts Tagged ‘1887’

Another Think Coming

Posted by Elyse Bruce on March 6, 2018

The battle continues as to whether the expression is you’ve got another think coming or you’ve got another thing coming. This week on Idiomation, both expressions are shared on this blog so you can make an educated decision as to which expression works best for you.

The expression you’ve got another think coming is in many ways a well-worded mathematical equation with real life implications. In other words, if you think A and B are true, you will be surprised to learn they do not add up to X as you think it will. Yes, when you are told you have another think coming, you have been advised you are sorely mistaken in your beliefs and need to reconsider your original thought if you want to be right.

So if you think you this is an easy riddle to unravel, you might have another think coming … or not.

Most English teachers will tell you that think is a verb however in this instance think is actually a noun. A noun? Yes because a noun identifies the subject in a sentence while a verb ascribes action. So when that think is coming as a result of the first think, it’s obvious that the thinks in question are subjects and not actions. What those thinks are doing or are going to be doing are the verbs.

Think as a noun first appeared in dictionaries in 1834 and referred to the act of thinking or a period of thinking. In fact, there’s an expression from the late 1800s that clearly expresses this thought: A thing must be a think before it be a thing.

That sentence was from a novel by Scottish author, poet, and minister George MacDonald (10 December 1824 – 18 September 1905) titled “Home Again” and published in 1884. The concept is found in Chapter IV: A Living Force.

“I should so like to understand!” said Molly. “If you have a thought more beautiful than the narcissus, Walter, I should like to see it! Only if I could see it, it would be a thing, would it not? A thing must be a think before it be a thing. A thing is a ripe think, and must be better than a think — except it lose something in ripening — which may very well be the man’s thoughts, but hardly with God’s! I will keep in front of the things, and look through them to the thoughts behind them. I want to understand! If a thing were not a thought first, it would not be worth anything! And everything has to be thought about, else we don’t see what it is! I haven’t got it quite!”

INTERESTING SIDE NOTE: George MacDonald was one of the pioneers of fantasy literature, and mentored Lewis Carroll (27 January 1832 – 14 January 1898), the author of the Alice stories. He was also a literary influence on such authors as C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien, and Walter de la Mare.

His books include “Phantastes: A Fairie Romance for Men and Women” published in 1858 and “The Princess and the Goblin” published in 1872 among other titles.

Three years after George MacDonald shared his thoughts on thinking, the concept of having another think coming was published in the 9 April 1897 edition of the Daily Argus newspaper:

Having elected him republicans think they have some voice in the distribution of the spoils and there is where they have another think coming to them.

It wasn’t something that was a one-off sharing of the idiom as it also appeared in the 29 April 1897 edition of the Washington Post newspaper in an article headline:  Another “Think” Coming To Them.

Two years after that, it was prominently featured in an article in the 24 September 1898 edition of the Quincy Whig newspaper:

Chicago thinks it wants a new charter. Chicago has another think coming. It doesn’t need a new charter as much as it needs some honest officials.

So when someone has another think coming to them, know that this phrase is correct and was first published in this form in 1887 with the logic of it all courtesy of George MacDonald in 1884.

Idiomation is certain that after reading this entry, you can hardly wait to read the history and meaning of another thing coming.  Breathe easy, readers:  You need only wait for Thursday’s entry to finally know everything that needs to be known about both expressions!


Posted in Idioms from the 19th Century | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Snap Shot

Posted by Elyse Bruce on November 22, 2010

The term “snap shot” has had a colour albeit short life in comparison to other terms.  It can mean a brief overview of a situation or a quick biography or a photograph or to hunting or even to hockey!  The history of the term “snap shot” is certainly varied and interesting.

Being nearly hockey season, I think providing that meaning at this point is helpful to all non-sports fans alike.  So when “snap shot” is used while discussing hockey, it refers to a quick shot where the blade of the stick is drawn back a short distance and then rapidly driven forward, with the wrists snapping inward after the puck leaves the stick.  In other words, a “snap shot“has the accuracy of a wrist shot blended with the power of a slapshot.

If we’re talking photographs and photography, then a “snap shot” is something else altogether.  Way back in the day, on March 8, 1896 — and much to the delight of readers of the Atlanta Constitution newspaper — the following headline was published:

Ghatty’s Snap Shot Photographers A Tramp!

The sub-headling below read:

And It Brought Her Great Good Fortune, Where She Expected The Reverse.

Eight years earlier, in the Journal of the Bombay Natural  History Society, Volume 3 in the segment entitled “Notes on Sambhur and Sambhur Stalking” written by Mr. Reginald Gilbert and read at the Society’s meeting on August 6, 1888, the following account was shared:

The horn is here, and has been given by me to this Society. On the 27th December , 1886, when stalking with Mr. Barton near the Taptee River, a few miles from Asirghur, in the Central Provinces, I put up a monster stag sambhur out of a thick nullah. It ran down the nullah. I was standing on the top. I only saw him for a second or two, and had only time to take a snap-shot at him before he passed round a bend in the nullah. The shell hit his horn from behind and knocked it off, splitting it up as you see. I picked the horn up and here it is.  I never saw that sambhur again; but to the last day of my life I shall never forget him or cease to regret I missed him.

From reading these last two uses for the term “snap shot” one might think that while hunting version of the term continued into the 20th century, that the camera version was something that came about sometime after 1890.  Not so.

On March 14, 1839, John Herschel — whose father was renowned astronomer William Hershel, the discoverer of Uranus — presented his paper entitled “Note on the Art of Photography or The Application of the Chemical Rays of Light to the Purpose of Pictorial Representation”  to the Royal Society.  The subject of the paper related to the first glass-plate photograph which was taken by Herschel and it is this photograph to which he referred to as being a “snap shot.”  He also coined the terms “negative” and “positive” within the context of photography.  For those who are curious, the photograph was that of his father’s 40-foot telescope, already a half-century old at the time the shot was snapped.

The hunting term “snap shot” was coined in 1808 by English sportsman Sir Henry Hawker.  His use of the term was a gun shot at a fast-moving target that was both quick and without aim.

Posted in Idioms from the 19th Century | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Package Deal

Posted by Elyse Bruce on October 8, 2010

In The Times-News newspaper published in Hendersonville, North Carolina the following article was published on November 13, 1963:

PACKAGE DEAL SET FOR JACKSONVILLE – A big weekend football package involving three Southeastern Conference teams and Navy is now in the works for Jacksonville, Fla., area next fall, it was reported today.

But this wasn’t the first time the phrase “package deal” was used.  In an article entitled “Democratic Candidates Wary of Package Deal: Top Bourbon Nominees Trying to Shake Loose as Signs of Dissension Evident” published in the Los Angeles Times on August 22, 1946 the article stated:

Weevils of dissension seem to have crept into the Democratic “package deal” for candidates in the coming election.  It Was Bob Kenny who, in the late lamented primary wrapped Democratic candidates in a package deal, hailed it as a novel idea and put it out in California’s political show windows as a leader in campaign merchandising.

But as far back as 1887, the phrase “package deal” was in use.  When Nikola Tesla applied to the U.S. Patent Office for a single patent covering his entire electrical system, the U.S. Patent Office informed him in writing that he was to break his application into seven parts rather than submit the “package deal” he had submitted.  By April of 1888, Tesla had applied for five patents which were granted and by the end of that year, he had submitted another 18 patent applications.

However, Thomas Cook, the first tour operator is actually responsible for the first published “package deal.”  Thomas Cook was a strict Baptist and prominent member of the local temperance society.  In 1841, he arranged an excursion to a temperance meeting in Loughborough, taking advantage of the newly opened Midland railway line from Leicester.  He advertised a “package deal” where, for one shilling (5p), his customers got their rail ticket and lunch on the train.

The concept proved to be such a popular one, that the Association for the Protection of Immigrants in Texas began offering a package deal to Europeans in 1846 that included as part of the package deal:

1,000 francs, passage and meals from Bremen, German to Castroville; transport of 300 pounds of luggage; a small log cabin; two oxen and yokes; two milk cows; twelve chickens and a rooster; a plow; and a “Mexican” wagon.  In return, the settled agreed to live on, and work, the land for a minimum of three years.

Were there package deals before this?  There have been package deals throughout history.  However, the phrase itself only came into vogue after Thomas Cook.


Posted in Advertising, Idioms from the 19th Century | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

I Brook No Truck With You

Posted by Elyse Bruce on July 2, 2010

The expression “I brook no truck with you” is a double whammy expression in that both “brook” and “truck” have literal meanings as well as figurative meanings.  On a literal level, the expression makes no sense whatsoever.  However, figuratively, there’s quite an interesting history to be uncovered!  

Let’s deal with “truck” first and then come back to “brook.”   Truck comes from the French “troquer” meaning “to barter”.  So “to truck” is to become involved with something or someone.  This meaning comes from the Middle English word trukien first used in 1175.

Mark Twain’s book The True Adventures of Huckleberry Finn was set in Missouri in the 1830’s and first published in February 1885.  In the novel, Huckleberry Finn says:

It was just like I thought, He didn’t hold no truck with the likes of me.”

 Sir Arthur Conan Doyle,’s novel The Sign of the Four was the second novel he wrote that featuredSherlock Holmes.  It was published in 1890 but set in Victorian England in 1887 while referencing the Indian Rebellion (in India) of 1857.  In the novel, readers find the following passage:

‘How can I decide?’ said I. ‘You have not told me what you want of me. But I tell you now that if it is anything against the safety of the fort I will have no truck with it, so you can drive home your knife and welcome.’

Now on to the word “brook” which also has an interesting history.  Brook comes from the Middle English word brouken which means “to use.”  Brouken comes from the Old English word brucan which is akin to the Old High German word bruhhan which means “to use.”  The word “brook” in this sense came to mean “to tolerate.”

When “brook” and “truck” are coupled in the expression “I brook no truck with you” it means the individual speaking tolerates absolutely no dealings with and completely rejects any association with the person or persons with whom — or of whom — he or she is speaking.


Posted in Idioms from the 12th Century, Idioms from the 15th Century, Idioms from the 20th Century | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

From Scratch

Posted by Elyse Bruce on June 16, 2010

In April 1887, the Fort Wayne Gazette reported on a cycling race where everyone started “from scratch” and no handicaps were considered.   From that point onward, the term “from scratch” was used to refer more specifically to the starting point for competitors who received no odds, which heralded the advent of the “scratch” game — a game without handicaps.

“It was no handicap. Every man was qualified to and did start from scratch.”

However, the term “from scratch” is even older than that.  John Nyren‘s “Young Cricketer’s Tutor” from 1833 records this line from a 1778 work by Cotton:

“Ye strikers… Stand firm to your scratch, let your bat be upright.”

Later on, James Joyce used “from scratch” in this sense in his 1922 masterpiece “Ulysses,” in which he wrote of a “poor foreign immigrant who started from scratch as a stowaway and is now trying to turn an honest penny.” The version of the phrase “from scratch” is a better known version these days.

The term “from scratch” as it pertains to cooking means the dish is prepared from fresh ingredients rather than from a packaged mix.  None of the steps are eliminated as they are with packaged foods. In this context it means any food that is prepared from the very beginning by the chef, baker or cook.


Posted in Idioms from the 18th Century, Idioms from the 19th Century, Idioms from the 20th Century, Racing, Sports | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »