Wading through an endless field, or, still gleaning

What is the origin of the now popular phrase in the house, as in “Ladies and gentlemen, Bobby Brown is in the house”? I don’t know, but a short explanation should be added to my response. A good
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In the house What is the origin of the now popular phrase in the house, as in “Ladies and gentlemen, Bobby Brown is in the house”? I don’t know, but a short explanation should be added to my response. A good deal depends on the meaning of the question “What is the origin of a certain phrase?” If the querist wonders when the phrase surfaced in writing, the date, given our resources, is usually ascertainable. But the circumstances in which that phrase first occurred are most often beyond recovery. Hence the endless discussion about the origin of a whole nine yards (why nine and nine yards of what?) and other outwardly transparent idioms. The hardest case is what one might call “nonsense idioms.” They must have been clear once, at least to some group of speakers, but today they only puzzle. Consider pay through the nose, rain cats and dogs, and even put a spoke in one’s wheel, all of them once discussed in this blog. The phrase in the house is not metaphorical, because it means what it. . .

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News source: OUPblog » Linguistics

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