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#127240 04/11/04 10:50 PM
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I've read an unusual number of books lately by Brits or Anglophiles, and something that's really sticking in my etymological craw is the turn of phrase involving "tucking into" a plate of food. Now, where I'm from, "tuck in" and "tuck" have connotations that have nothing to do with mealtime.

1. Tucking in your shirt.
2. Being tucked into bed.
3. Nip & tuck (i.e. cosmetic surgery)
4. The sewing-specific sense, taking a tuck in a waistband, for instance - a shorthand for altering something to a smaller size (I could go into far deeper detail on this one, but I won't bother.)

In thinking about this, I became further confused when my Joyceian brain took over and led me down the paths of:

5. Friar Tuck (of Robin Hood fame)
6. The surname "Tucker"
7. Tuckered out = tired

Anyone have any enlightening thoughts? Logic (spurious or otherwise) to explain a connection among these? Some of the connections I find obvious (3 & 4 dovetail very nicely in my mind), but particularly "tucking into" a plate of food is a mystery to me...


#127241 04/11/04 11:00 PM
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<<3 and 4 dovetail very nicely>>

If 3 and 4, then 1, 2, 3, and 4, or?


#127242 04/12/04 12:39 AM
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I have many times in books or magazines seen Brit use of
"tucker" to mean food. Under "tuck" in ARTFL Dictionary 1913
the fifth defintion is "food":
Tuck
Tuck, n.
1. A horizontal sewed fold, such as is made in a garment, to shorten it; a plait.

2. A small net used for taking fish from a larger one; -- called also tuck-net.

3. A pull; a lugging. [Obs.] See Tug. Life of A. Wood.

4. (Naut.) The part of a vessel where the ends of the bottom planks meet under the stern.

5. Food; pastry; sweetmeats. [Slang] T. Hughes.




#127243 04/12/04 04:02 AM
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Sorry, FB - upworlders, penal isle or not, also use "tuck in" in connection with food .


#127244 04/12/04 10:58 AM
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And then there's also "bib and tucker" ... [equally mystified]


#127245 04/12/04 01:35 PM
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When I was at school, we bought sweets and soft drinks from the "tuck shop". I guess this "tuck" is a variation of "tucker" meaning food. But for me, "tucker" sounds very Australian, where food you find in the wilderness (wichety grubs and the like) is called "bushtucker". Or so I'm told.


#127246 04/12/04 05:03 PM
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Ah, yes... I neglected to give a nod to "tucker" as Aussie slang for food. As for "tuck in" re: upworlders, Max ~ one of the first of several times I've read it lately was in the Bill Bryson travelogue about Australia. Being that it was Bryson, I wasn't sure if he was being charmingly regional, or if it was just his Anglophile tendencies.

And IP, point well taken. I just get a stronger connection between 3 & 4, and I blame it on my years of sewing.


#127247 04/12/04 05:19 PM
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Dear FB: for many years before some sardonic humorist called facelift "nip and tuck" it was an phrase idiom meaning narrow escape from a threatened disaster.


#127248 04/12/04 05:22 PM
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Interesting, Dr. Bill! I'll do a little googling to see who might have made that leap... also thanks for adding to my befuddlement with the nautical senses of the word.


#127249 04/12/04 07:27 PM
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one more Strine reference, there's a line in "Waltzing Matilda" about a "tucker bag".



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