Sunday, October 11, 2015

Cavalcade of Cliché, 4

(A parade of words and phrases eligible for retirement.)

Scuttling Door Nails

“It was dead as a door nail”[1]—that’s such an odd phrase
And we’re not really sure what it means.
Now it’s meaning is lost and we’re puzzled, I know—
As we are by the slang of our teens.

And so what do you say? Should we scuttle[2] the thing?
(And, yes, scuttle’s another that’s died.)
Or just calmly accept that some things will confuse
When the past and the present collide?

[1] a large-headed nail formerly used for strengthening or ornamenting doors.
[2] to sink (a vessel) deliberately by opening seacocks or making openings in the bottom; 1490-1500; perhaps Spanish escotilla hatchway, equivalent to escot (e) a cutting of cloth (< Gothic skaut seam; akin to sheet1) + -illa diminutive suffix

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