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#2848 - 05/22/00 05:53 AM Etymology
Sushmita Offline
stranger

Registered: 05/22/00
Posts: 2
Loc: New Delhi, India
Does anyone know the origin of the phrase "Teach my grandmother to suck eggs" ? It's such an amusing phrase, but where did it come from ?

Sush
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Sush

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#2849 - 05/22/00 12:54 PM Re: Etymology
AnnaStrophic Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 03/15/00
Posts: 6511
Loc: lower upstate New York
I would love to know where this phrase originated, too! It also occurs in Brazilian Portuguese: v ensinar tua vov a chupar ovos. ("Go teach your grandmother to suck eggs") ... I was never quite sure what it meant, but I guess it's equivalent to "go fly a kite."



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#2850 - 05/22/00 01:23 PM Re: Etymology
tsuwm Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 04/03/00
Posts: 10523
Loc: this too shall pass
according to Quinion [see link], it's from an 18th century translation of a Spanish playwright; he also includes this verse to demonstrate the meaning:


Teach not thy parent's mother to extract
The embryo juices of the bird by suction.
The good old lady can that feat enact,
Quite irrespective of your kind instruction.


http://www.quinion.com/words/qa/qa-tea1.htm

http://members.aol.com/tsuwm

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#2851 - 05/22/00 02:30 PM Re: Etymology
Jackie Offline

Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 03/15/00
Posts: 11609
Loc: Louisville, Kentucky
OH! OH! OH!
I bow, and kowtow, to the new enthusiast!
Congratulations!! You are Supreme in my book!
I visited the link--thank you.


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#2852 - 05/22/00 03:13 PM Re: Etymology
David108 Offline
member

Registered: 05/09/00
Posts: 112
Loc: Auckland, New Zealand
in tones of great awe

Thank you for that, tswum. I have added the link to my bookmarks, and will certainly use it. How do you find these things?


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#2853 - 05/22/00 03:25 PM Re: Etymology
AnnaStrophic Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 03/15/00
Posts: 6511
Loc: lower upstate New York
(adding my voiced to the awed)

That's great stuff, enthusiast tsuwm. I am humbled before your astonishing research talent. Thanks for this and other links. :-)


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#2854 - 05/23/00 09:22 AM to my truckling claque...
tsuwm Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 04/03/00
Posts: 10523
Loc: this too shall pass
[pleonasm can be fun!]

research for my own modest word page has led me to discover (1) all of the good word sites in the known English-speaking universe [hyperbole] and (2) several useful tricks for taming the available search engines.

for instance, try this at http://google.com

enter the following search string as shown:

grandmother "suck eggs"

and there, right at the top, you should see the hit for Quinion, with whom I was already quite familiar and on which I leaped forthwith. this stuff really ain't rocket science!

"What's another word for Thesaurus?" -Steven Wright

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