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Nine of diamonds, or the curse of Scotland: an etymological drama in two acts: Act 1

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The origin of this mysterious phrase, “nine of diamonds,” has been discussed for over two hundred years. Nor are surveys wanting. I cannot say anything on this subject the world does not know, and I have no serious preferences for any of the relatively promising hypotheses. Yet I have probably amassed more clippings on this mysterious expression than any of my predecessors (the archives of the OED must contain a richer treasure trove, but it is out of public view), so that sitting on such a collection makes me feel a bit like the dog in the manger. In addition to dictionaries and books, I, as always, have a heap of articles and notes from The Gentleman’s Magazine, Notes and Queries, and The Spectator. Below, I’ll dispense with references, but, if someone needs them, I’ll be happy to provide both volume and page numbers. “The dog in the manger, not a character to emulate.” Image credit: The Dog in the Manger courtesy of Project Gutenberg. Public Domain via. . .

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News source: Linguistics – OUPblog

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