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    • Join Date: Oct 2006
    • Posts: 39
    #1

    Fill your boots

    Hi everybody,

    Sometime ago I came across the phrase "Fill your boots", in an audio clip that someone had sent me. Listening to it, I got the impression that it meant something along the lines of - 'Grow up' or 'Get to work' (as in put on your workman's boots and get to work). I found a post on this site about it being a phrase heard at a Canadian buffet table. So, does it simply mean - 'help yourself / dig in', or could the meaning change, depending on the context in which it was used? I wanted to send you the audio clip but wasn't able to upload it.

    Regards,

    Benjamin

  1. curmudgeon's Avatar
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • English
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      • UK
      • Current Location:
      • UK

    • Join Date: Mar 2006
    • Posts: 1,657
    #2

    Re: Fill your boots

    I think it is an invitation to 'help yourself' or similar to saying 'be my guest'

    'Come on everybody, fill your boots, the food is on the table.'

  2. Junior Member
    English Teacher

    • Join Date: Sep 2006
    • Posts: 63
    #3

    Re: Fill your boots

    Quote Originally Posted by kkookk2003 View Post
    Hi everybody,

    Sometime ago I came across the phrase "Fill your boots", in an audio clip that someone had sent me. Listening to it, I got the impression that it meant something along the lines of - 'Grow up' or 'Get to work' (as in put on your workman's boots and get to work). I found a post on this site about it being a phrase heard at a Canadian buffet table. So, does it simply mean - 'help yourself / dig in', or could the meaning change, depending on the context in which it was used? I wanted to send you the audio clip but wasn't able to upload it.

    Regards,

    Benjamin

    In the States we have the expression "fill one's shoes" which might correspond with "fill one's boots." The expression is usually used to indicate a person is going to be hard to replace. For example, "When the dean retires, it's going to be difficult to find someone who can fill his shoes." That's to say that it's going to be difficult to find a successor who possesses all the qualities the dean brings to his job.


    • Join Date: Oct 2006
    • Posts: 39
    #4

    Re: Fill your boots

    Quote Originally Posted by curmudgeon View Post
    I think it is an invitation to 'help yourself' or similar to saying 'be my guest'
    'Come on everybody, fill your boots, the food is on the table.'

    What about in Ireland? Does anyone know whether the phrase has the same meaning there as well?

    Ben

  3. BobK's Avatar
    • Member Info
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      • English
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      • UK
      • Current Location:
      • UK

    • Join Date: Jul 2006
    • Posts: 16,038
    #5

    Re: Fill your boots

    Fill your boots isn't the same as fill his shoes (which we also have in the UK), and it (the boots collocation) means a bit more than help yourself - it means help youself using every possible container; I think it was applied originally to pirates plundering a rich prize. I hear it most in cricket commentaries - when a bowling attack is very weak, and the batting side fill their boots by scoring freely (which gets away from the idea of 'containers', but develops the idea of 'easy pickings').

    b


    • Join Date: Oct 2006
    • Posts: 39
    #6

    Re: Fill your boots

    Thanks Bob

    Is there any way an audio clip can be uploaded as an attachment?

    Regards,

    Ben


    • Join Date: Jan 2007
    • Posts: 1
    #7

    Re: Fill your boots

    I was looking for the origins of this expression myself when I came across this post. It's true that it does generally mean to help oneself, but be aware that in the context of "I was so scared, I filled my boots", it has quite a different, and rather less pleasant implication, which I will leave to your imagination. Sadly, English contains many very similar-sounding expressions with very dissimilar meanings, which compounded with countless social and regional variations, make colloquial English a very difficult thing to understand and/or use unless one is exposed to it over a long period. I live in the north of England, but was born in the Midlands, and frequently have difficulty with the use of English locally, (even as a native English speaker) after living in this area for many years.

    Anyone who is trying to learn English as a supplementary language has both my sympathy and my admiration - good luck to you all.


    • Join Date: Apr 2010
    • Posts: 1
    #8

    Re: Fill your boots

    I have heard the clip you are talking about.
    It is an 8 year old Irish girl calling, right? Before hanging the telephone she tells the guy in the line: "Fill your boots".
    What I think it means there (the clip) is some kind of invitation so he (the man on the other side of the phone) can attempt the task she is asking for: demolish her school.
    I hope I'm right
    Regards
    Elena

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