Make ends meet
Posted: 30 June 2007 01:07 PM   [ Ignore ]
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What ends didn’t meet when money was tight?

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Posted: 30 June 2007 03:11 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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bayard - 30 June 2007 01:07 PM

What ends didn’t meet when money was tight?

No one knows Quinion has the best article on this.

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Posted: 30 June 2007 03:13 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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Surprisingly (at least to me) it’s the ends of the year.

From OED

[

b]End, n. 24 to make both, two ends, the two ends of the year, meet: to live within one’s income [cf. Fr. joindre les deux bouts, les deux bouts de l’an].

1690 B. E. Dict. Cant. Crew s.v. Ends..Tis good to make both ends meet.

Ah, I stand corrected by the Quinion article.

[ Edited: 30 June 2007 03:16 PM by aldiboronti ]
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Posted: 30 June 2007 07:58 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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Brief previous discussion.

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Posted: 01 July 2007 12:28 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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Origin not known?  But might be to do with dressmaking, or belts…
Must connected to geting both ends of the nine yards to meet ;-)

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Posted: 01 July 2007 02:24 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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Explains why British sausages contain so many additives: it’s difficult for the manufacturers to make both ends meat.

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Posted: 01 July 2007 02:59 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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And, of course, animal campaigners are trying their hardest to make meats end. And hunt abolitionists would like to make meets end.

(Slides furtively away).

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Posted: 01 July 2007 09:15 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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The phrase has a Dutch equivalent: ‘de eindjes aan elkaar knopen’ or ‘tying the ends together’. The two expressions may be totally unrelated of course, but this version seems to argue in favour of a strings or ribbons metaphor.

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Posted: 01 July 2007 09:24 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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The ribbon or string metaphor would suggest a derivation from “having enough to go round”, originally meaning food, then extended to string (in jest?).
We can but speculate.....

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Posted: 02 July 2007 04:34 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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In 1756, a time when fashionable women’s decolletage was extensive, and the hemline had crept up to above the ankle, Edward Moore editorialised thunderously in the magazine The World:

“While I am conniving at low stays and short petticoats, I will permit no lady whatsoever to make both ends meet.”

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Posted: 02 July 2007 05:18 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
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The mention of stays and petticoats calls to mind Pope, writing a couple or so decades before (in one of the Imitations of Horace, I don’t remember which)

But if to charms more latent you pretend
What lines encompass and what works defend!
Dangers on dangers, obstacles by dozens,
Spies, guardians, guests, old women, aunts and cousins.
Could you directly to their person go
Stays will obstruct above and hoops below,
And if the dame says yes, the dress says no!

The last line always reminds me of the fiendish brassiere snap, designed to frustrate the hopes and dreams of thousands upon thousands of adolescent males.

[ Edited: 02 July 2007 05:22 AM by aldiboronti ]
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