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  1. #1
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    Default meaning of 2 English expressions.

    I searched the web but couldn't find the meaning of these 2 expressions. What's the meaning of:
    1- Standing on the edge of time.
    2- It's not the cough that'll carry u off. It's the coffin they'll carry you off in!
    Thanx,
    NN

  2. #2
    curmudgeon's Avatar
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    Default Re: meaning of 2 English expressions.

    "It wasn't the cough that carried him off," It was the coffin they carried him off in."
    This comes from Victorian times. Before the advent of penicillin If you did not look after yourself, a cold went straight to the chest, turned from pneumonia into double pneumonia and you were dead within a fortnight. "It wasn't the cough that carried him off," girls sang over skipping-ropes, "It was the coffin they carried him off in."
    Even earlier, from the time of the 'Black Death' a bubonic plague which swept across europe killing millions:
    Ring a ring o'roses
    A pocketful of posies
    ah-tishoo,ah-tishoo
    We all fall down.
    Posies were scented handkerchiefs which were thought to ward off the disease. I suppose they at least made the smell bearable!
    Once you started sneezing (ah-tishoo) however, you would soon fall down (collapse and die)
    At least they had a sense of humour. I wonder if we will be the same when bird 'flu' strikes!
    I am not sure about the edge of time. Sounds like it could mean we are on the brink of something.

  3. #3
    Anglika is offline No Longer With Us
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    Default Re: meaning of 2 English expressions.

    "Standing on the edge of time" seems like a poetic way of saying that you are looking into a future

    The first saying looks like a (not very good) pun to me

    Incidentally, a posy is a small arrangement of flowers, often aromatic or scented. Judges in the High Court in London always had one on their desks until quite recently. They were designed to (a) ward off disease and (b) hide unpleasant smells.

  4. #4
    MikeNewYork's Avatar
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    Default Re: meaning of 2 English expressions.

    Quote Originally Posted by curmudgeon View Post
    "It wasn't the cough that carried him off," It was the coffin they carried him off in."
    This comes from Victorian times. Before the advent of penicillin If you did not look after yourself, a cold went straight to the chest, turned from pneumonia into double pneumonia and you were dead within a fortnight. "It wasn't the cough that carried him off," girls sang over skipping-ropes, "It was the coffin they carried him off in."
    Even earlier, from the time of the 'Black Death' a bubonic plague which swept across europe killing millions:
    Ring a ring o'roses
    A pocketful of posies
    ah-tishoo,ah-tishoo
    We all fall down.
    Posies were scented handkerchiefs which were thought to ward off the disease. I suppose they at least made the smell bearable!
    Once you started sneezing (ah-tishoo) however, you would soon fall down (collapse and die)
    At least they had a sense of humour. I wonder if we will be the same when bird 'flu' strikes!
    I am not sure about the edge of time. Sounds like it could mean we are on the brink of something.
    There are those who have serious doubts about that origin:

    Urban Legends Reference Pages: Language (Ring Around the Rosie)

  5. #5
    curmudgeon's Avatar
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    Default Re: meaning of 2 English expressions.

    Quote Originally Posted by MikeNewYork View Post
    There are those who have serious doubts about that origin:

    Urban Legends Reference Pages: Language (Ring Around the Rosie)

    Some serious time wasted disproving that! Some people have too much time on their hands!

  6. #6
    MikeNewYork's Avatar
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    Default Re: meaning of 2 English expressions.

    Quote Originally Posted by curmudgeon View Post
    Some serious time wasted disproving that! Some people have too much time on their hands!
    That's what they do.

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