"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."
Saturday, 30 May 2009
Off to a T
The expression 'Down to a tee', 'Down to a T' or 'Off to a T' means to the finest detail or to perfection; as in 'He could copy her accent off to a T."
The saying is said to have originated as a shortened form of "to a tittle", an expression in use in English by the early 17th century, with the meaning "to the smallest detail." The variation appears by the late 17th century.
The word "tittle" means a tiny shred; a tiny or scarcely detectable amount; or the dot on the letter i.
The word also oocurs in the phrase 'jot and tttle'. A jot being an iota; a point; the dot on the letter i; the smallest particle. The phrase 'jot and tittle' is therefore tautological and means to the smallest degree. It was first rceorded in English vin William Tindale's translation of the New Testament in 1526. It appears there in Matthew 5:18: One iott or one tytle of the lawe shall not scape.
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)