Archive for February 17th, 2011

February 17, 2011

Dressed to a …

Jackie Kennedy had the art of dressing to the T/tea down, pic: fooyoh.com

T or tea??  I have used that expression myself before and never stopped and thought about how that T is written and what it means.  Looking into it now I found that both T and tea are being used and there seems to be no consensus as to which is the correct or original one and why that phrase is used.

But first things first, dressed to the T/tea means to be dressed very well, with attention to detail, so right down to the belt and shoes, jewelry and that little hankie men can put in the pockets of their jackets.

Those who believe that the word is “tea” claim that expression is British and since those guys like their tea and used to dress nicely to take High Tea in some fancy place the expression was derived from “dressed for a tea” or “dressed to go to a tea.”

The Oxford English Dictionary claims that T is an abbreviation of dressed “to a tittle” which was used in that sense as early as 1607 in Francis Beaumont’s play, The Woman-Hater.  Now tittle is another word not exactly used on a daily basis and means a small distinguishing mark, such as the dot on a lowercase i or j.  So dressed to the tittles would imply that everything is perfect down to the dots on the i.

After all of that I have decided to never use the expression in writing.

February 17, 2011

Cold turkey

Maybe this should be a blog entry for next Thanksgiving – but that is so far away and it is not really a Thanksgiving kind of topic anyway.  “Cold turkey” is used to describe when one stops something abruptly.

The “something” often is a bad habit like smoking or taking drugs.  Examples would be:

Seriously cold turkey, pic: moxxienetwork.com

Person 1: “He is trying to quit smoking cold turkey but I don’t think that’s a good way.  It is better to do slow withdrawal”

Person 2:  “I am not sure, I know a couple of people from whom quitting cold turkey worked well.”

Cigarettes and drugs are probably most associated with going cold turkey but it could also be some other addiction  or addiction-like behavior like snacking.  “Unless you quit snacking while you watch TV it will be very hard for you to loose weight.  I suggest you stop cold turkey – just don’t buy any snack food anymore.”

The phrase originates from the goose bumps and pale color in one’s face that are the hallmarks of withdrawal from narcotics or tobacco. The skin resembles that of a plucked, cold turkey…

Charming!