The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 14.1934 Friday, 3 October 2003
From: Tony Burton <
Date: Thursday, 2 Oct 2003 07:55:14 -0400
Subject: 14.1924 Winter's Tale Queries from left field
Comment: Re: SHK 14.1924 Winter's Tale Queries from left field
Perhaps we're all out in left field, here. There is an entry in "The
Dictionary of American Slang" for "out IN left field", to mean "Wrong,
very wrong; out of place, date or order; unusual; obnoxious; off base.
Until the present inquiry and enthusiastic discussion, I never heard the
expression "out OF left field," which seems to suggest the meaning "out
of the blue, from nowhere, unexpectedly."
Of course, a number of list members supplied explanations on which
others are presumably supposed to rely. My guess is that they have been
induced by the power of suggestion to invent an instant folk etymology.
On the other hand, mangled metaphors and misunderstood colloquialisms
seem nowadays the frequent product of ignorant political types who are
striving for the common touch. And they have a long literary pedigree
as malaprops. As my mother would have said about these not-so-helpful
efforts to explain the nonexistent, "They're barking up a dead horse."
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