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    • Join Date: Sep 2007
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    staples / hit the pockets

    Dear teachers,

    Would you be kind enough to interpret one word and one expression which I noted in the following excerpt from the NYT’s article As Food Costs Rise, So Do School Lunch Prices “?

    Prices on some school lunch lines are going up this fall as school officials, like many others, struggle to pay higher prices and delivery fees for staples like bread, milk, fresh fruit and vegetables…..
    But for many parents, nothing hits the pockets quite like lunch prices.

    I know the following meanings of the term “staple”:

    1. A thin piece of wire in the shape of a square bracket that is driven by a device through sheets of paper or similar material and flattened to serve as a fastening.
    2. A U-shaped metal loop with pointed ends, driven into a surface to hold a bolt, hook, or hasp or to hold wiring in place.

    On the second hand I know also another meaning of the term in question namely “a trading centre in England or occasionally abroad, where traders deposited commodities, bought and sold there.”. But it seems to me that this was in the time of Edward II? Could you explain to me why there is another meaning of the term “staple” namely “a basic dietary item, such as flour, rice, or corn”?

    Would you tell me whether the expression “hit the pockets” is in common use in your area? I caught the meaning from the context. There was no reference source in my Dictionary. Will you give me a link with explanation of the matter in question? I know something about the expressions “dig deep into one’s pockets” or “burn a hole into one’s pocket” but “hit the pockets” is new to me.

    Thank you for your efforts.



    • Join Date: Oct 2006
    • Posts: 19,434
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    Re: staples / hit the pockets

    staples = the essentials. A staple diet is the basic diet. The staples of a stationery cupboard will be paper, pens, pencils, paperclips. The staples of the food cupboard are milk, bread, tea, coffee, butter.

    Hits the pocket is a frequently used term to mean that something is costing you more money than you regard as sensible.

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