Movers and shakers
Posted: 29 December 2007 07:40 AM   [ Ignore ]
Total Posts:  1
Joined  2007-12-29

Does anyone know the origin of “movers and shakers”?

Posted: 29 December 2007 08:17 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
Total Posts:  2759
Joined  2007-01-30

It’s from Alfred O’Shaughnessy’s 1873 Ode.

Here’s the first stanza:

WE are the music-makers,
And we are the dreamers of dreams,
Wandering by lone sea-breakers,
And sitting by desolate streams;
World-losers and world-forsakers,
On whom the pale moon gleams: 
Yet we are the movers and shakers
Of the world for ever, it seems.

Posted: 29 December 2007 08:18 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
Total Posts:  4214
Joined  2007-01-29

You’re in luck, the OED has just (Dec. 2007) updated the “mover” entry:

2. c. colloq. (orig. U.S.). A person who initiates events and influences people; a dynamic and influential person. Chiefly in mover and shaker (after quot. 1873).
1873 A. O’SHAUGHNESSY in Appletons’ Jrnl. 4 Oct. 440/3 Yet we are the movers and shakers Of the world for ever, it seems. 1892 Harper’s Mag. Feb. 431/2, I know that Chicagoans boast that theirs is the most mixed population in the country, but the makers and movers of Chicago are Americans. 1972 F. KNEBEL Dark Horse ix. 124 The rich movers and shakers.. always manage to manipulate the Congress for their own benefit and screw the rest of us. 1987 Sunday Sun (Brisbane) 18 Jan. 102/2 Eddie Murphy is back doing what he does best—playing a streetwise mover caught up in events beyond him. 2000 Daily Tel. 1 Mar. 21/5 The Monte Carlo hotel restaurant [is] filled with actors and assorted movers and shakers attending the annual television festival.

The O’Shaughnessy poem was very famous in its day; I seem to remember memorizing it in grade school.

Edit: Pipped by aldi!

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