Historically Speaking

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Posts Tagged ‘Time Magazine’

Move The Goalposts

Posted by Elyse Bruce on February 11, 2016

Back in 1976, country recording artist Bobby Bare had a hit on his hands with the song, “Drop Kick Me Jesus Through The Goalposts of Life.”  It was a humorous song that crossed over to radio stations with non-country music formats.  But where did Bobby Bare come up with the idea of goalposts being idiomatic for describing life?  And is a positive or negative connotation when someone moves the goalposts?

If you hear someone accusing a person or company of shifting or moving the goalposts, they’re alleging that the person or company has changed the rules while everything is in progress.  Whether it’s done so the company or other person can come up the winner, if it’s done to set someone up for failure, or if it’s just to complicate a situation, is immaterial.  It’s a case of changing the rules while the “ball” is in play.

On February 2, 2016, journalist James Longstreet writing for the American Thinker shared his article about Dianne Feinstein, Vice-chairperson of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence in the U.S. had commented on the Hillary Clinton email situation.  He stated that some of what Dianne Feinstein  had to say on the subject had shifted the focus to impact on the Democrat primary.  The article was titled, “Hillary Email Scandal: Feinstein Moves The Goal Posts, Raises Many Questions.”

Five years earlier, in on July 22, 2011, House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) gave a press conference on the debt ceiling, and the reasons why he pulled out of negotiations with President Barack Obama on the topic of raising the legal limit to borrow money ahead of the August 2, 2011 deadline at which point the U.S. would no longer be able to pay all its bills.

The problem, according to John Boehner, was that the White House was demanding an extra $400 billion in revenues to the already agreed upon $800 billion (resulting in a tax increase for Americans).  He claimed that the White House refused to consider serious expenditure cuts, and was not interested in making hard decisions that would benefit America. In his comments to the press, he stated in part:

And a tax system that was more efficient in collecting the taxes that were due the federal government. And let me just say that the White House moved the goalpost.

In the article, “Uses and Misuses Of Strategic Planning” written by Daniel H. Gray and published in the Harvard Business Review of January 1986, the writer took on the subject of corporate America’s problems as they pertained to formal strategic planning.  He discussed how it was the poor preparation and incomplete implementation of decisions made through strategic planning that caused corporate America to struggle.  This is how he incorporated the idiom in his article:

What actually does happen is often rather primitive: exhortation, backdoor dealing, across-the-board cuts, moving the goalposts, and mandated performance promises. In other words, the units’ plans are force-fit in various ways into the corporate plan. At this stage of the game, companies normally focus their attention more on the numbers in the business plan than on the strategies.

Back in 1978, Albert Vincent Casey had been with American Airlines for four years after starting his career in the railroad industry.  He had been tapped to be their CEO at a time when the airline was struggling with a burdensome debt load and high costs due to premium services that were a hallmark of the airline.  He piloted the company through this turmoil in the 1970s and 1980s.  With regards to deregulation of airlines, he was quoted in the February 4, 1978 edition of the Washington Post thusly:

“They keep moving the goal posts,” he lamented.  “We’re not afraid of deregulation, though,” he said, “if they really took off all the wraps.”

Just a few years earlier, Time magazine used the idiom in the body of an article as well as in the title.  Published on March 6, 1972, the article, “JOBS: Moving The Goal Posts” took on the concept of what full employment meant.

To economists and politicians, “full employment” does not mean what the words suggest: a job for absolutely everybody who wants one. Instead, the working definition has long been a jobless rate no higher than 4%. Even by that measure, the U.S. has rarely enjoyed full employment since World War II; the last time was in the closing months of the Johnson Administration and the early days of the Nixon era. Now the President’s aides are redoubling efforts to bring the jobless rate back from nearly 6% toward full employment by the elections. Instead of launching another new economic game plan, however, they are trying to move the goal posts.

In Spanish, the idiom is cambiar las reglas del juego.  In French, the idiom is changer les règles du jeu pendant la partie.  Another way of saying this idiom in English is to say that the rules of the game were changed.

The word goalposts first came into being in 1834 and referred to sports requiring upright posts to allow for goals in a game involving two opposing players or teams. At that time, the goal was identified two upright posts supporting a crossbar of a goal.

Used in the current way, it’s easy to understand how, when someone moves the goalposts, it is an unexpected and frustrating occurrence for the person or persons focused on reaching the formerly identified goal.

Moving goalposts was even frowned up in the Christian Bible where it states this in Proverbs 22:28.

Remove not the ancient landmark, which thy fathers have set.

Idiomation was unable to find an earlier published version going back before 1972, however, the fact that it was used with ease in a Time magazine article published in early 1972 indicates that the idiom was understood by the public at large.  It is most likely that move the goalposts as we understand the idiom to mean these days, came about in the 1960s.

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Posted in Bible, Football, Idioms from the 20th Century, Sports | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Not For Nothing

Posted by Elyse Bruce on August 30, 2013

As soon as the idiom right as rain was published to this blog, Brian Michael Stempien wondered what the back story on not for nothing might be.   Setting off to research this idiom, the many twists and turns along the way made this an intriguing idiom to track.  You can lay the blame for double negatives on Latin, where positive assertions are made by way of double negatives. For example, non nulli translates into not nobody but it means everyone.  No wonder this idiom gives so many people trouble!

The idiom not for nothing actually means what’s about to be said or done is not to be said or done in vain; what’s about to be said or done has a cause, a purpose, a reason, or a use. What’s more, the same expression is found in other languages such as French where you can hear people say, “C’est pas pour rien.”

In Time magazine, in the Science and Technology section, the article, “Gagarin’s Golden Anniversary: The High Price Paid By The First Man In Space” by Jeffrey Kluger was published on April 12, 2011. The article, of course, had to do with the Russian cosmonauts and the American astronauts. In this article, the journalist used the idiom, not once, but twice!

It’s not for nothing that Russia, the U.S. space community and most former Soviet republics celebrate every April 12 as Yuri’s Night, with speeches, parties and commemorative events. It’s not for nothing, too, that this year the list of countries joining the celebration has expanded to 71 — including Belgium, Australia, Canada, Chile, China, Greece, India, the Maldives, Malaysia and even Iran — or that the inevitable website complete with the inevitable online gift shop has been launched.

When the Reading Eagle of Berks County (PA) published the July 17, 1952 edition of the newspaper where it was reported that Democrats felt certain President Truman could be swayed to change his mind about stepping aside to allow another to run for the office of President. It was said that Mrs. Truman had to motives for returning to Washington: The first was because she missed her husband when he was away from her, and the second was to be on hand if the call should come asking him to run for President again. The article read in part:

As is well known, Mrs. Truman has been irrevocably opposed to another four years in what she consider a cruel kind of imprisonment. And not for nothing does the President refer to her as “the boss.”

Russian poet, musician and novelist, Mikhail Alekseevich Kuzmin (18 October 1875 – 1 March 1936) used the expression in one of his poems, “Alexandrian Songs for Nikolair Feofilaktov, II Love, #6” published in 1906.

Not for nothing did we read the theologians
and studied the rhetoricians not in vain,
for every word we have a definition
and can interpret all things seven different ways.

And slipping back 2 more years to November 5, 1904 to a story in the New York Times entitled, “The Mikado’s Birthday” the expression makes an appearance.  Reporting on Japanese strategists in Tokyo who hoped to celebrate the Emperor’s birthday in a very unique way, some history was rehashed and the following can be found:

But even a year ago, we repeat, when it became clear that Japan was prepared to fight the huge Muscovite Empire, as she had already successfully tackled the huge Chinese Empire, in vindication of what she believed to be her right to national expansion, which seemed to her equivalent to her right of national existence, there were not wanting skeptics to maintain that the clockwork precision and the dauntless valor which had marker her war against China went, if not for nothing, yet not for very much in the face of the fact that she had never encountered the troops of a “European” Power.

When Scottish novelist, poet and travel writer, Robert Louis Stevenson (November 13 1850 – December 3 1894) wrote and published “Virginibus Puerisque and Other Papers” in 1881, he included this passage in Part 1.

Lastly no woman should marry a teetotaller, or a man who does not smoke. It is not for nothing that this “ignoble tobagie” as Michelet calls it, spreads all over the world.

It’s an expression that’s been used for centuries, and appears in William Shakespeare’s “The Merchant Of Venice” that was published in 1596. The passage appears in Act II, Scene V.

LAUNCELOT
I beseech you, sir, go: my young master doth expect
your reproach.

SHYLOCK
So do I his.

LAUNCELOT
An they have conspired together, I will not say you
shall see a masque; but if you do, then it was not
for nothing that my nose fell a-bleeding on
Black-Monday last at six o’clock i’ the morning,
falling out that year on Ash-Wednesday was four
year, in the afternoon.

But as much as the word nothing came into the English lexicon in the 12th century, the expression not for nothing reaches back much more farther back. In fact, when newly baptized Christians were enslaved or massacred by Roman soldier, Saint Patrick (yes, the patron saint of Ireland) who lived from 385 to sometime between 462 and 493, wrote a “Letter To The Soldiers Of Coroticus” in the year 450. In this letter was written:

I grieve for you, how I mourn for you, who are so very dear to me, but again I can rejoice within my heart, not for nothing “have I labored,” neither has my exile been “in vain.”

Finally, the first published point was found with comic writer at the time of the Roman Republic, Titus Maccius Plautus (254 BC – 184 BC).  His first play was produced in 205 BC and continued throughout his lifetime and beyond. In Act IV, Scene III of “Aulularia.”

It was not for nothing that the raven was just now croaking on my left hand.

The expression was used freely in this comedy and the audience knew what it meant. Idiomation is therefore led to believe that not for nothing was a common expression at the time, and its existence lies somewhere in the years before the play was written.  At the very least, it was a known expression around 300 BC, and possibly earlier than that.

Posted in Ancient Civilizations, Rome | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Talk Like A Dutch Uncle

Posted by Elyse Bruce on September 1, 2011

To talk like a Dutch uncle is another interesting expression. In Brewer’s “Dictionary of Phrase and Fable” the use of the phrase “talk like an uncle” meant that one was being given a severe reproof since an Uncle’s rebuke was something to be respected.  This is evidence by the Latin classics onwards.  Since the rivalry between England and Holland had created the situation where anything Dutch was seen as something hateful, a “Dutch uncle” was one whose comments were to be respected while being nonetheless more strict and caustic than those of an uncle from other countries.

American comedian Jimmy Durante was known for asking, “Who do you think you are: my Dutch uncle?

On July 2009, the Public Health Alert published Volume 4, Issue 7 of its magazine.  Its mission is to investigate lyme disease and chronic illnesses in the USA according to its banner.  In this edition, the cover story was written by Scott Forsgren who interviewed Dr. Garth Nicolson, PhD, professor at the University of Texas in Houston and an instructor at Baylor College of Medicine.  In the course of the interview, Dr. Nicolson was quoted as saying:

I always felt the internet would help humanity learn how to live better, naturally.  As more consumers demand metal-free dentistry, this will create the change in the profession.  WHen I started 35 years ago, I had to talk like a Dutch uncle to get people to remove mercury fillings and root canals — it was tough.

Cutter Laboratories 1897- 1972: A Dual Trust” was a book that took more than one volume to tell the story of the founder of Cutter Laboratories.  Volume I was entitled, “Robert Kennedy Cutter: Building And Guiding A Family Pharmaceutical Firm” published in 1971.  A number of taped interviews were transcribed for this volume, and in one of the passages, Robert Cutter says:

And I recall that I wanted to have a job done by a printer whom I felt that for that particular type of printing would do a better job than Brent would do. And I had to talk like a Dutch uncle because my aunt kept reminding me of the many years that Mr. Brent had carried the laboratories when he didn’t get paid promptly at all.

Time Magazine published a news story on December 1, 1947 that dealt with voluntary health insurance.  It claimed that President Roosevelt had been shocked to learn that 4 million men had been rejected as 4Fs.  The article was entitled, “Medicine: Dutch-Uncle Talk” and the opening paragraph stated:

Elder Statesman Bernard M. Baruch is a doctor’s son. In the last few years, vigorous, health-minded Bernie Baruch has given millions for the advancement of medical education and research. Last week he talked like a Dutch uncle to a Manhattan gathering of 600 medicos and hospital administrators. It is high time, he said, that doctors give up their stiff-necked opposition to compulsory health insurance.

In the book “Cleek: The Man Of The Forty Faces” written by Brooklyn born American actor and author, Thomas W. Hanshew (1857 – 1914) published in 1912,  readers find the following in Chapter 3:

“Share the blame of my lateness with me, Mr. Narkom,” said Cleek as he tossed aside his hat and threw the fag-end of his cigarette through the open window. “You merely said ‘tea-time,’ not any particular hour; and I improved the opportunity to take another spin up the river and to talk like a Dutch uncle to a certain young man whom I shall introduce to your notice in due time. It isn’t often that duty calls me to a little Eden like this. The air is like balm to-day; and the river — oh, the river is a sheer delight.”

Thomas W. Hanshew wrote over 150 novels over the span of his life, many of which were under the pen name Charlotte May Kingsley.

The New York Times published a quick note in their January 9, 1881 edition that explained the meaning of the expression and referenced Brewers’ “Dictionary of Phrase and Fable.”

Martim de Albuquerque published a comment in “Notes and Queries” in 1853 that in some parts of America, when a person was determined to give another a regular lecture, he was often be heard to say he wanted to “talk like a Dutch uncle.”  Since this was a common expression in 1853 in America, it most assuredly is an expression that came to America from England.

But long before America, in February 1563,  Huguenot Jean de Mere assassinated the Catholic Duc de Guise which led to de Mere being publicly executed.  It is alleged that he blamed his actions on “the pressures and sorrows by my Dutch uncle bestowed.”  While Idiomation was unable to find proof that this was indeed what Jean de Mere actually said while having proof that the expression was common in America in 1853, Idiomation feels safe in hazarding a guess that the expression can be pinned to at least one generation before Martim de Albequerque‘s writings, putting it somewhere around 1825.

Posted in Idioms from the 19th Century | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments »

Far Out

Posted by Elyse Bruce on June 13, 2011

The expression far out refers to something of a positive nature that’s avant-garde or bizarre.  Originally it was a slang term for daringly creative jazz and eventually it was applied to other art forms and, finally, anything in life that was seen as being unconventional, somewhat eccentric and probably nonconformist.

Back on March 15, 1985 the Spokesman Review newspaper ran an article entitled, “Budget Panel Shuns Those Far Out Ideas.”  The Associated Press story stated in part:

Sell the Grand Canyon? Abolish the Marine Corps? Balance the budget on the backs of America’s waitresses?  The Senate Budget Committee summarily brushed these disease aside, but some lawmakers say parts of the panel’s new 1986 federal budget stand about as dubious a chance of eventual passage.

On February 28, 1961 the Daytona Beach Morning Journal ran a news story entitled, “It’s Gigantic, Man, Like Far Out.”  The first paragraph read:

American jazz virtuosos allowed yesterday that those hot notes breaking out in Russia could do a lot to warm up international understanding.  It  might, they said, mellow the communist mood.  “Why man, you can’t even think about being made with that music going through you,” drawled bop trumpeter Dizzy Gillespie.  “It engulfs you.  You forget all about trouble.”

On August 18, 1958 the Daytona Beach Morning Journal ran another bit, this time In Dorothy Kilgallen’s column, “The Voice of Broadway.”  On tidbit was this one:

Residents of Southampton are apt to raise eyebrows over this one:  Birdland is about to name its “bleacher section” — where the far out aficionados sit and listen to the jazz for just the price of admission — and the new tag will be “The Duke Box.”  Actually it’s for Duke Ellington but since it’s the same as a rather well-known high society get-up on Angier Biddle Duke’s Southampton estate (a couple of elegant barns which he’s converted as a guesthouse for blue blooded chums) the management of Birdland is inviting Duke and an assortment of his regular guests — Serge Obolensky, Jay Rutherfurd, Dmitri Djordjadze and Jacques Frey — to attend the Maynard Ferguson opening August 26.

Even Time magazine used the term far out in an article entitled “Far Out Words For Cats” in their November 08, 1954 issue.  The article reported in part:

U.S. colloquialisms evolve slowly.  “Jag,” tops,” “dude” stayed around for decades before they began to lose their freshness.  But jazz lingo becomes obsolescent almost as fast as it reaches the public ear.  A term of high approbation in the swing era was “out of this world,” in the bop era it was “gone,” and today it is “the greatest” or “the end.”  Similarly, a daring performance was “hot,” then “cool,” and now is “far out.” 

Idiomation was unable to find an earlier published version of the expression far out and it is reasonable, based on the aforementioned information, to assume the term is from the early 1950s.

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

Eat Like A Horse

Posted by Elyse Bruce on April 21, 2011

If someone says that you eat like a horse, it mean you are eating, or have eaten, a lot of food.  In some instances this is a compliment while in others it’s an insult.  It all depends on the situation and the people involved.  Interestingly enough, in French the expression is “manger comme un ogre” (translation: eat like an ogre) or “manger comme quatre” (translation: eat as if one was four).

One of the funniest play on words was in Neel Chowdhury’s article in Time Magazine published on May 29, 2008.  The title of the article was “Eat Like A Horse Rider.”

The Baltimore Sun ran an article on December 28, 1952 entitled, “Add One Elephant To The Holiday Toll.”   The newspaper extended its sympathies to the children of Rome whose favorite elephant, Remo, had died on Christmas Eve. And yet despite the fact that this was a terribly sad occasion, the editors saw that a lesson could be drawn from the unexpected death at the Rome zoo.  And with that, the article spoke to the heart of holiday feasts, stating this in part:

For those of us who have survived the first rounds of holiday feasting, with the New Year’s banquets still to go, there is a moral in Remo’s gourmandian orgy. A person may be as hungry as a bear and may eat like a horse but there are definite limits beyond that.

Thee Pittsburgh Press ran an advertisement espousing the benefits of The Reese Formula R-11 in its August 9, 1920 edition.  It stated that a Mr. B.L. Allen, assistant foreman of the N&W Railway at Portsmouth, Ohio, claiming to previously suffering from “nervous indigestion and rheumatism” had this to say about the product’s efficacy:

I saw the medicine in the window at Fischer & Streich Drug Store and I decided to get a bottle and try it as I have always tried everything I saw. I am glad to say after taking two-thirds of the bottle I can eat like a horse, sleep like a country boy and feel like a 16-year old boy.  If you wish to sue my name you are at liberty to do so.  I will always recommend The Reese Formula R-11 to my friends.

These sorts of health claims haven’t changed over the years, the only difference being the illnesses that certain products supposedly address or cure.  Over in Sydney, Australia, the Sydney Mail newspaper ran an advertisement in their March 15, 1902 edition that made eerily similar health claims as the advertisement run in Pittsburgh in 1920.  This time it was about Dr. Morse’s Indian Root Pills.  In this instance, it  was a Mr. John Cook of Dunolly, Victoria, Australia who gave testimony:

About the middle of February last I was seized with a severe attack of Indigestion, and also pains across the chest, which caused me much agony, and upon making my case known I was advised to give your pills a trial.  I did so, bought one bottle from Mr. Kendall, the local chemist, and commenced their use, and before using on bottle I found they had made a great improvement so I continued their use, and had not finished the second bottle when I was sure they had cured me.  Another thing, before taking these pills I had no appetite, but now, as the saying is, I can eat like a horse.  I will recommend the pills wherever I go, as I am sure they will do to others as they have done to me.

Back on July 12, 1882 the St. Joseph Daily Gazette in St. Joseph, Missouri published an article on Tug Wilson, the English pugilist.  The upcoming match between Tug Wilson and John L. Sullivan that was set to take place at Madison Square Garden in New York the following week had sports enthusiasts buzzing with excitement.  It was reported that Sullivan had agreed to forfeit $1,000 — a princely sum at the time — he didn’t knock Tug out in four rounds and Tug stood to earn half the gate money if he succeeded in dodging the “sledgehammer blows of his redoubtable adversary beyond the prescribed time.”  Among other things, the newspaper article dealt with the boxer’s training regime.

He does not trouble his stomach with many soft vegetables but does in for beef, bread, mutton and eggs.  Dinner over, he rests until 2 o’clock, smokes a cigar, and then starts out and walks until 5 o’clock.  He has another trot around after supper.  His appearance has undergone a great change since he commenced training.  There is nothing “fluffy” about him now. He has hardened his muscles and reduced his weight most remarkably.  He can now skip about like a squirrel, eat like a horse, and move about like a champion pugilist.  His weight last Sunday was 174 pounds, and yesterday it was 157 pounds.  The fact of itself sufficiently indicates the severity of his training.

Idiomation was unable to find an earlier published version of this expression however there appears to be a jump between the expression “work like a horse” and “eat like a horse.”  The former expression dates back to at least 1520 when horses replaced oxen and began to pull  carts, wagons, carriages, chariots and sleighs.  

As a side note, special yokes had to be designed for horses as the typical ox yoke applied so much pressure to the windpipe of a horse that it effectively cut off the horse’s supply of oxygen.  And surely if one was said to be working like a horse, it made sense that one would also be eating like a horse afterwards.

Posted in Idioms from the 16th Century, Idioms from the 19th Century | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Doughboy

Posted by Elyse Bruce on December 6, 2010

Because of excellent marketing, most people think of the Pillsbury Doughboy when they hear the term doughboy.  

When you go back a decade to January 31, 2000 the New York Post published an article about the Pillsbury Doughboy aka Poppin’ Fresh, the blue-eyed, smiling icon since 1965 that sports a scarf and chef’s hat for attire.  The brouhaha was over the fact that the Doughboy was appearing in newer commercials with a decidedly darker complexion.  It was all just a tempest in a teacup, however, as it was explained that his new colour more accurately reflected the colour of unbaked dough.

This wasn’t the first time the Doughboy had found himself at the centre of attention wherein the media was concerned. Back in 1991, Time Magazine reported that when Sunshine Biscuits unveiled their mascot, Drox, Poppin’ Fresh and Pillsbury didn’t take kindly to the competition’s “two legged, puffy white voiced character”  and launched a successful lawsuit against Drox and his team.  

The L.A. Times carried a story on February 18, 1988 that reported:

According to a Pillsbury spokesperson, a night clerk at the hotel, Ruth Ann Sparacio, looked up just in time to see a man carrying the Jolly Green Giant out the front door. Yelling “Stop,” she and the hotel’s assistant manager Bob Masserio hotfooted it out the door after the “kidnapper” who, in turn, dropped the Jolly Green Giant and hopped into a waiting car. Masserio spotted the Doughboy ensconced in the car’s back seat as it pulled away, but failed to get the car’s license number. The Giant’s injuries were sufficiently mild that he was able to return to his entry way post at once.

However, the term “doughboy” has been around since long before Poppin’ Fresh hit the scene. 

In a news article published by the Chicago Tribune on November 10, 1963, readers were treated to an article entitled “From A Doughboy‘s Diary.”  The doughboy recounted stories of his days in the Army which included anecdotes such as:

“There was the day in France — April 16, 1918, to be exact — when the mess hall cooks tried to feed matzo balls instead of bread to the troops of the Rainbow division, and 2,000 Irishmen of the “Fighting 69th” regiment rioted.”

The term, doughboy, then is a term the military has used when referring to its troops.   

In fact, historical documents show that U.S. General James G. Harbord served three years as a doughboy after his enlistment in the Fourth United States Infantry, back in 1889.

Doughboy was first used as a term during the Mexican War in 1846 when the cavalrymen riding on horses called foot soldiers — also known as the infantry — doughboys.  This was because after marching over dusty terrain for any period of time, the foot soldiers looked like they were covered in flour hence they were made of dough ergo they were doughboys.  In time, the term doughboy came to mean all the officers and troops of the American Expenditionary Force, which we know today as the United States Armed Forces.

Doughboy was also used as a nickname in the 1800s.  Creed Taylor fought in the Mexican War as well as at the Battles of San Antonio and San Jacinto.  After his discharge from the army, Creed Taylor married Lavina Spencer, who gave birth to their two sons John Hays (always called Hays) born in 1836 and Phillip G. (always called Doughboy) born in 1837.   Creed, along with his brother, Pinkin, founded the Taylor crime ring, hired gunmen to join them and eventually turned the reins over to Hays and Doughboy once they were old enough to run the family business.

Elsewhere in the world, doughboy was used in military terms in another way.   After the Battle of Talavera during the Peninsular War in Spain back in 1809, a soldier in Lord Wellington’s Rifle Brigade, on the retreat from Talavera, made the following note in his diary:

For bread we took corn from the fields, and having no proper means of winnowing and grinding it, were obliged to rub out the ears between our hands and pound them between stones to make dough, form which wretched practice we christened the place “Dough Boy Hill.”

Contrary to popular misconception, doughboy has never been used to describe an apprentice baker.

Posted in Idioms from the 19th Century | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »