"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, 6 October 2009

To Ring a Peal

One might imagine that the phrase 'to ring a peal' related to ringing the bells in a church but in fact, in the Nineteenth Century, it meant to scold or tell off according to the 1811 Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue, originally by Francis Grose. It was usually applied to either a master / servant relationship or a wife / husband one.
His wife rung him a fine peal!

1 comment:

  1. Hmmm, perhaps I'll threaten Hubby with that. Scared O Me!