Idiom: Sell ice to the Eskimo

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bmo

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Jul 24, 2003
Sell ice to the Eskimo - Speak very convincingly. Does it imply something negatively, like selling useless junks to an unsuspecting old lady? If a preacher speaks convincingly, can we say he can sell ice to the Eskimo?

Thanks. BMO
 

Tdol

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I've heard it used in an admiring way, suggesting that the person has great powers of persuasion. There's also an alternativbe about selling fridges to them. ;-)
 

bmo

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Thanks a lot; akways learn something new. I will check out the alternative.
BMO
 
J

jzink

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bmo said:
Sell ice to the Eskimo - Speak very convincingly. Does it imply something negatively, like selling useless junks to an unsuspecting old lady? If a preacher speaks convincingly, can we say he can sell ice to the Eskimo?

Thanks. BMO

I wouldn't use it to describe a preacher... I think that there is a somewhat negative connotation b/c the Eskimo obviously does not need ice... So a preacher may take this offensively... It can be a compliment to a salesman, though, as their job is to *sell*... sometimes irregardless of need :wink:

Jessica
 
J

jzink

Guest
I think, like TDOL said, it has to do with having the power to persuade. In your example of a preacher, this could be taken offensively, because the preacher does not feel a need to persuade. Rather, they are interpreting and relaying what is already known to be fact (as far as the church is concerned). A salesman, or someone in debate, or even a business negotiator might take this as a compliment, where their goal is to persuade. I think it depends a lot on the intonation of your voice, also. I apologize in advance if that's hard to follow!

Jessica
 

bmo

Senior Member
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Jul 24, 2003
Thank Jessica, this time it sinks in. It can go either way, but in the preacher case, it can be taken offensively given the reason you described. Your English is pretty good, stay active and help us ESL learners. BMO
 
J

jzink

Guest
bmo said:
Thank Jessica, this time it sinks in. It can go either way, but in the preacher case, it can be taken offensively given the reason you described. Your English is pretty good, stay active and help us ESL learners. BMO

You're welcome! And thank you for your compliment! I'm not a teacher or an expert, but I really enjoy language. I just discovered this site, and I'll try to help as much as I can!

Jessica
 

MW

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Jul 26, 2004
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Student or Learner
This expression is also used to note the difficulty of a proposed task.
 
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