"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."

Friday, 8 February 2013

In the lap of the Gods

If something is in the lap of the Gods one has no control over the event or its outcome.  Why things should be in their 'lap' I don’t know.  In the hands of the Gods would seem a more sensible expression.
The phrase can be found as long ago as the 8th century BC when Homer, in The Odyssey, has Eurymachus say ‘Surely, Telemachus, the question of who will be king, in Ithaca’s isle, is in the lap of the gods’.

1 comment:

  1. I don't think I've ever heard or read this expression. As you say, "in the hands of the Gods" sounds more sensible - and more familiar, somehow.