"That's a great deal to make one word mean," Alice said in a thoughtful tone. "When I make a word do a lot of work like that," said Humpty Dumpty, "I always pay it extra."
Tuesday, 14 April 2009
The origin of the saying ‘upper crust’ to mean the aristocracy is said by some to have come from the fact that only the well-off were given the upper crust of a loaf. (Because of the style of early ovens the bottom of the loaf would tend to be burned by comparison with the top.) There is no written evidence for this usage. Another idea is that pies for the nobility had an upper crust whereas the poor could only afford one layer of pastry – the one underneath the contents. Again there is no written evidence for this origin.
However, the idea of the head being referred to as the upper crust does appear in print as early as 1823 when Grose's Classical Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue said – “...but to hear it from the chaffer [mouth] of a rough and ready costard-monger, ogling his poll from her walker [feet] to her upper crust [head].”
It is therefore quite likely that this was simply extended to suggest those at the top / head of the social strata.
"The upper crust seem to think bad manners are of no account."
My daughter Helen commented in November 2008 in her Blog that she was now keeping a notebook of new words that she came across during her reading. "This week I bought a lovely little leather bound book to write new words in as I read them . I've added a few from "1984", but my favourite has to be persiflage (from the French persifler) which means banter." I later discovered that my older daughter, Bryony, also kept a similar notebook.
This inspired me to create a Word blog. This will include both new words, favourite words and the origins of phrases that we commonly use. A definition and some comment, perhaps even a relevant quotation, will acompany the word or phrase.
“I am a Bear of Very Little Brain, and long words bother me.” - Winnie the Pooh
Thanks for stopping by! Would you like a cup of tea or coffee? And please, sit for a spell. If you enjoy my posts, please feel free to follow me or subscribe to my blog. This is a word verification free, family friendly blog, so everything I share here is for all ages. I am a happily married man in my late sixties who lives on the Wirral peninsula, near Liverpool, in the UK.
I'm a blogger - and nowadays that seems to be my main occupation. Rambles from My Chair is my main blog. I’m a retired local government executive - now studying how to survive a neurological disorder that gives me various problems but, hopefully, a whole new outlook on life and an increased sense of humour and perspective. There is a saying in Sweden "man måste vara frisk för att orka vara sjuk" ~ "you have to be well to cope with being ill"....
I enjoy most forms of communication and postcards are a special favourite. I used to blog as Scriptor Senex which is Latin for Old Writer but now Google only lets me post as John Edwards.
“He’s not so old. He’s just the age that he is, that’s all.” (Gerald Hammond)