"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, 16 June 2009

As the Actress Said to the Bishop

"As the Actress Said to the Bishop" is a sexual inuendo, used as a response when someone says something that can be interpreted in a naughty way. An example might be:-
"I didn't know I had it in me."
"As the actress said to the bishop...."

The reverse (As the bishop said to the actress) is also used but less frequently. The phrase seems to have been made popular in the mess halls of the RAF during the Second World War but it probably originated in the comedy acts at the music halls in the late Victorian era when jokes about potentially scandalous liaisons betwen actresses and the nobility and clergy were popular.

In the 1950s the rather risqué radio show Educating Archie included Archie Andrews' upper class chum Monica (played by Beryl Reid) who used the riposte 'As the art mstress said to the gardener'.

Archie Andrews and Peter Brough
(Archie Andrews, for those too young to remember the glorious days of radio was a ventriloquist's dummy. Only the BBC could have made a successful radio programme using a ventriloquist's dummy as the main character!)


  1. Very interesting. Had not even heard this one before. Love to learn. You are a blessing. Thank you.

  2. Thank you, Tammy, for the lovely compliment.
    :-) SS