[Idiom] thousands upon thousands

Status
Not open for further replies.

yuriya

Member
Joined
Apr 23, 2010
Member Type
Student or Learner
Native Language
Korean
Home Country
South Korea
Current Location
South Korea
Thousands upon thousands of people lived in the rubble like rats.

Is this (thousands upon thousands) an idiom or just an extension of the preposition upon as in something is heaped upon something else? Thanks in advance!
 

BobK

Harmless drudge
Staff member
Joined
Jul 29, 2006
Member Type
English Teacher
Native Language
English
Home Country
UK
Current Location
UK
Is this (thousands upon thousands) an idiom or just an extension of the preposition upon as in something is heaped upon something else? Thanks in advance!

Both. As SD says, it's just idiomatic now, but the phrase was first coined by using the usual preposition sense of 'upon'. ;-)

b
 

Heterological

Member
Joined
Jun 25, 2010
Member Type
English Teacher
In addition to what others have said, it's worth noting that "thousands upon thousands" is not the only variant of this expression. I've also heard "hundreds upon thousands," "millions upon millions," etc. Curiously, I've noticed that the numbers are either the same, or the first is smaller; i.e. "hundreds upon thousands," or "thousands upon thousands," but never "thousands upon hundreds."
 
Status
Not open for further replies.
Top