Thursday, 2 August 2012

And that's another one

I suppose my brother and I have been exposed to more slang phrases than many.  Our father served in the Navy for more than 20 years so it seemed quite natural to us to hear the floor described as the deck, the walls at the bulkheads and the ceiling as the deckhead.  We also knew that if Dad said, "Belay the last pipe" he meant us to ignore what he had just said.  "Cheer up for Chatham, Sheerness is in sight" meant that a chore was nearly done while "Drop that and grab a scrubber" was an instruction to stop fooling around and do something useful.

But yesterday I used a phrase I have not heard in a long time - and I used it quite without thinking.  I was telling my younger son that, as far as I am concerned, two guys who are trying to persuade both YS and me to join their company (at unknown cost!) can take a running jump.  Now it seems to me that most semi-intelligent English speakers will realise that the phrase "take a running jump" means go away, get lost.  But I have been completely unable to find its origin.


While in France last month, we were driving through the nearby forest one day when we noticed a number of wreaths on the monument to resistance members taken into the forest and shot by the occupying Germans.  We stopped and discovered that we had only just missed a ceremony of remembrance, 21 July having been the 68th anniversary of the executions.  The fancy wreaths at the front are from local officials while the more modest floral tributes are, presumably, from surviving members of the families. According to a report in the local paper, 500 people attended the ceremony.

Pierre Avoue, 25. George Burban, 18. Maurice Cratien, 21. Albert Gautier, 26. Pierre Marsollier, 42. Pierre Pietin, 29.


Uncle Skip, said...

I don't know, and couldn't find, the origin either, but did think of a number of other other idioms that mean the same thing.

John May said...

It was "take a long running jump off a very short pier." probably originated in Brighton.

Brighton Pensioner said...

Thanks, John. I've never heard that version although telling somebody to take a long walk on a short pier is familiar.