A Dictionary of Catch Phrases: British and American, from the Sixteenth Century to the Present Day

By Paul Beale; Eric Partridge | Go to book overview

S

S.A.B.U.

See: T.A.B.U.


S.N.A.F.U. and S.N.E.F.U.

See: snafu.


S.O.L.

See: shit out of luck.


S.O.P.

See: standard operating procedure.


S.O.S.

See Charley's dead and same old shit.


sack of flour.

See: rides like.


saddle.

See: get a s.; her clothes; I've got to s.; lucky old.


safety in numbers,

orig. and still often prec. by there's. 'Used jocularly, and mainly, as opposed to “two's company”, meaning that courting couples will not get up to anything while others are present' (Petch, 1969): late C19-20.

I first heard it at least as early as 1910. But also used by one person, either to herself (formerly) or to himself (as, frequently, nowadays), or to another, and meaning 'I don't very much want to find myself alone with him (or her)': since c. 1930. Both, by an extension of the cliché.


said.

See: enough said; never let it be; never said; no more to be; nobody asked; nuff; stand always; that's as well; well, you s.; what the soldier; you said; you've said; and:


said he.

In 1927 Collinson, in his invaluable book, recorded this example,

'Do you like that?'
'No, said he frowning.'

Current since the early 1920s and, although somewhat 'old hat', still far from †. It derives, I'd say, from a novelists' trick that is also a journalists' mannerism.

It is spoken in, as it were, italics. 'Perhaps influenced by literal translations of French texts, as in Non, dit-il, en se refrognant' (Janssen, 1978). P.B.: occ. varied by the use of the earlier generation of historical novelists' quotha or quoth he.


said the spider to the fly.

See: come into my parlour. sail(s). See: I am becalmed; one drink; red sails; she sails.


sailing for China with a load (or cargo) of tea.

A 'kidding of new entries' on Training Ships: late C19-earlyish 20. Peppitt quotes J.R. West, T.S. Indefatigable, 1909.


sailing ship coming up astern, sir.

A 'contemptuous reference to the slow, unreliable steam ships' (Peppitt, citing D. Phillips-Burt, The History of Seamanship, 1970): apparently, therefore, a nautical, esp. a RN, c.p. of c. 1845-60 and perhaps, joc., applied to any slow vessel. sailor!s). See: as the girl said; Ballocky Bill; hello, sailor; I'm Jolly Jack; pity the poor; save a s.; term; and:


sailor must be thinking of you.

See: my ears are burning.


sailor without a knife is like a whore without a cunt-a.

This nautical, prob. orig. RN, c.p. implies both an extreme improbability, and an unthinkable lack of common-sense and foresight: late C19-20. (Peppitt, 1977.)


sailors don't

care-natural enough, with their girls in every port: latish C19-20. Canonized by inclusion in Benham. But L.A.'s 1975 gloss is valuable: 'Among soldiers, airmen and others, apt when what is in hand is not likely to be straightforward if niceties are allowed to get in the way; e.g., trespassers will be prosecuted, but if it's a short cut…' And, late in 1974, L.A. had glossed the c.p. thus: 'Quip to reject or mitigate undue caution'.


sailor's farewell-a,

occ. with to you added. A nautical, including RN, parting curse: late C19-20. Perhaps suggested by the apparently slightly earlier (and much sooner †) nautical coll., sailor's blessing. But the best comparison is that to be made with soldier's farewell. Cf also best of British luck (to you)!


saint(s).

See: shore; Sunday saints.


St Swithin's.

See: effort.


sainted.

See: oh, my giddy.


salt.

See: I could eat; she looks; we sha'n't.


salt mines.

See: back to the s.


salute.

See: if it moves; run it up.


salute this happy deck.

See: Christians, awake…


Sam.

See: play it; and: Sam got you. 'You've been drafted into the Army' (Cab Calloway, 1944): US: since 1942. Uncle Sam has caught you, or caught up with you.


same.

See: it'll all be the s.; they're all the s.; time's always; what's the difference; and;


same diff.

is the Aus. counterpart of the next: since c. 1945. (B.P.)


same difference.

See: it's the same difference.


same here!

I agree: US: C20. (Berrey.) For 'It is the same here, i.e. with me'; 'I think the same as you do'. The drinking sense, 'I'll have the same [drink] as you' is hardly a c.p.


same in a hundred years.

See: it'll all be the same….


same OB.

The usual price (for a ticket of entry): lower classes': c. 1880-1914. (Ware.) for same old bob (shilling), the usual entrance fee for most popular entertainments and pastimes during the period.


[same old faces!

The cry that always greets winners of raffles, tombola, dance prizes, etc., as they go up to collect their “loot” at Service, esp. Sergeants' Mess, social functions' (P.B., 1975): since late 1940s. On the borderline between c.p. and cliché.]


same old shit, but (or only) more of it-the.

The Canadian Army's version of snafu: WW2.


same to you and many of them!-the,

politely synon. with the phrases immediately following this and is, so far as I've been able to ascertain, rather earlier, for it seems to have arisen c. 1880. In Act III of Stanley Houghton's The Perfect Cure, prod, in 1913, we find:

CRAY: Confound Mrs Grundy! Confound Madge! Confound-yes, hang it, confound you, Martha.

MARTHA: The same to you, and many of them.


same to you with knobs on!;

or the fairly common var. …with brass fittings! The same to you-only more so!: both belong to C20 and were prompted by-were, orig., perhaps euph.

-261-

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