Early doors
Posted: 26 June 2010 12:06 AM   [ Ignore ]
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This seems to be a British expression simply meaning “early”. What are its origins?

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Posted: 26 June 2010 09:24 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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OP Tipping - 26 June 2010 12:06 AM

This seems to be a British expression simply meaning “early”. What are its origins?

According to Wikipedia early doors (also the name of a BBC series) is a British slang expression for people who are so eager to get to the pub that they arrive before opening time in the early evening and have to wait accordingly.

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Posted: 26 June 2010 06:13 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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Around the 1870s, the idea grew up of charging a small premium to members of the audience who were willing to arrive well ahead of the crowd and avoid the crush; in return, they were allowed to choose their own seats in unreserved areas - the pit and the gallery in particular. This could be a considerable advantage, as sightlines in those areas were often poor or interrupted by pillars. The earliest comment on the practice I’ve found is this:

It was with some degree of satisfaction that I welcomed a movement in the right direction adopted at most of our local theatres during the pantomime season - namely that of providing special entrances or early doors for the convenience of those who, wishing to avoid the crush, would willingly pay a small extra amount.
[Liverpool Mercury, 24 Apr. 1877.] ....
somebody in the football world in the UK - identity now lost - later remembered the expression and reinvented it to refer figuratively to the early part of a game.

Michael Quinion

The name of Ron Atkinson, TV football commentator, has been linked to the phrase.

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