Done and Dusted
Posted: 18 May 2007 09:07 AM   [ Ignore ]
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Anything on this?

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Posted: 18 May 2007 09:15 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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What does it mean?  In what context is it used?  Where have you seen it?

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Posted: 18 May 2007 09:24 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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It’s quite a common phrase in the UK, meaning ‘task complete’.

“Have you finished compiling those statistics?”
“Done and dusted!”

I have nothing on date, but I’m wondering whether it comes from domestic servants’ parlance.

Hmm, nothing in OED, which slightly surprised me. It’s been current for years, and, though memory is often treacherous, I’m pretty sure it was around in the 50s/60s.

182,000 googlits. Obviously it’s alive and well. From a quick lookover, they seem to be mainly from British and Australian sites.

[ Edited: 18 May 2007 09:32 AM by aldiboronti ]
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Posted: 18 May 2007 07:15 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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I have no idea of the history, but it brings to mind the similar expression ”home and hosed”, used when a risky undertaking has been successfully completed (googling brings up speculative links to racehorses being hosed down after a race).

It seems to me that the second element ("dusted" and “hosed") in each expression was probably selected more for the alliteration than the meaning. Of course, such idioms are ripe for folk-etymologisation.

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Posted: 18 May 2007 07:51 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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”home and hosed”, used when a risky undertaking has been successfully completed (googling brings up speculative links to racehorses being hosed down after a race).

So that would sort of be the opposite of the Texanism: ”rode hard and put away wet”. That is, put away without proper hosing, brushing, or drying, but just amuck with sweat. Though usually a comment on a person’s condition I think.

Is “dusting” a usual word for sweeping in the UK? Sweeping up at the end of a job comes to mind.

[ Edited: 18 May 2007 07:59 PM by foolscap ]
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Posted: 18 May 2007 10:04 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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No, not for sweeping, just for wiping away dust with a duster, feather duster, etc.

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Posted: 19 May 2007 06:13 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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I like this one, but I’m a bit skeptical....

When documents were signed in times past using pens dipped in ink, drying time could be considerable as the application of the ink varied so much. To speed things up an absorbent dust was sprinkled on the fresh writing, left momentarily, and then tipped off the sheet, allowing the document to be rolled or folded there and then, and carried off. Thus, a deal was considered finalised when it was “done and dusted”.
(It is true about the dust, though. Blotting paper hasn’t always been there.)

[ Edited: 19 May 2007 06:16 AM by camlinhall ]
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Posted: 19 May 2007 06:49 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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I’m sure the phrase is older, but this is the earliest citation I could find. From Joby by Stan Barstow 1964 (page 16):

I’ll be back again, all done and dusted, before you hardly know I’ve been away.’
She handed him her own small square of handkerchief.

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Posted: 22 April 2013 09:47 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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Has anyone any thoughts on the metaphor behind ‘home and dry’?

As with nomis‘s suggestion for ‘home and hosed’ (which I’ve never heard in the UK), it could possibly be a groom’s metaphor - the horses are not merely home, but rubbed down dry.

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Posted: 23 April 2013 06:36 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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Syntinen Laulu - 22 April 2013 09:47 AM

Has anyone any thoughts on the metaphor behind ‘home and dry’?

As with nomis‘s suggestion for ‘home and hosed’ (which I’ve never heard in the UK), it could possibly be a groom’s metaphor - the horses are not merely home, but rubbed down dry.

OED notes that the phrase is ‘orig. Austral.’, The 1930 cite s interesting and may suggest that there was more to the phrase originally.

1917 Times 1 June 8/5 ‘Are you British?’, he asked. ‘Yes’ was the answer… ‘Come on, Stewie’, he said to his mate. ‘We’re home and dry.’
1918 Kia Ora Coo-ee Oct. 14/1 All being home and dried, ‘Shorty’ went over to the ‘Q. Emma’s’ to borrow a bit of ‘buckshee’ sugar.
1930 V. Palmer Passage i. x. 86 You’ve done it this time, Lew! Home and dry on the pig’s back!

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