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Picture of Kalleh
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I just watched the Friend's episode when they said, "I don't give a tiny rat's ass." I think that is so funny.

Are there phrases that you like? When I first came to WC, I remember discussing the phrase, "That just dusts my doilies!" That is another I think is so funny, though not that many people have heard it before.

Come on, there must be others...
 
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Six of one, half a dozen of the other.

It was a phrase my Dad used to use quite a lot.
 
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Kalleh, I have never heard of, "That just dusts my doilies!" I have heard of, "I don't give a rat's ass", but not with the word "tiny" included.

Bob, my mom always used the phrase, "Six of one, half a dozen of the other". Which I took to mean that things were pretty much equal in whatever choice one made.
 
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I love 6 of one, half a dozen of the other! It has been in our family for years too. Or how about "dollars to donuts"? That's a great family phrase too.

Sattva, one of my first posts here was about "dust my doilies." I heard about it on another forum.

Another phrase we first talked about here was "nine ways from Sunday." I am not certain we ever quite figured it out. Here is an entry from the Grammarist, who shows how it has changed through the years.
 
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Sometimes (not too often) during the workshopping of a limerick on the OEDILF site, two individuals will become involved in a complex discussion about some insignificant detail that really would make no difference one way or the other. My grandfather used to describe situations like these as "trying to separate the pepper from the fly poop."
 
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Another phrase my Dad used was discussed here a long time ago. If someone was seized with an attack of coughing he would say “cough it up, it might be a gold watch”. I never did find out the origin of the phrase.
 
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Since nobody shines shoes anymore I suppose people CAN now tell shit from Shinola. Well, except nobody will now know what Shinola was.
 
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You know, I have heard the phrase many times but only just realised that I DON’T know what Shinola is.
 
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It was a brand of shoe polish, now defunct.
 
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A sure thing is “dollars to donuts”.
(As in, “i’d bet dollars to donuts.”)
 
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But I just don't get how donuts came into it. Because it starts with "d?"
 
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I don't either, Kalleh. Maybe, it has to do with how many workers would get donuts and coffee on their way to work, spending their dollars routinely on donuts. Maybe, it should now be dollars to Starbucks
 
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quote:
Originally posted by Kalleh:
But I just don't get how donuts came into it. Because it starts with "d?"

I think so. The alliteration, both words having two syllables, and the vast disparity in value.


What's the meaning of the phrase 'Dollars to doughnuts'?

An outcome that is almost assured; a certainty.
What's the origin of the phrase 'Dollars to doughnuts'?

Dollars to doughnuts'Dollars to doughnuts' is one of several 'dollars to ...' phrases, like 'dollars to buttons' and 'dollars to cobwebs', which date from 1884 (in G. W. Peck's Boss Book) and 1904 (in The Boston Herald) respectively. Buttons and cobwebs were presumably chosen for their obvious lack of value, but the expressions failed to catch on as they lacked the perky alliteration of 'dollars to doughnuts'.

This is, of course, an American phrase. It is occasionally spelled as 'dollars to donuts', which only emphasis its US origin as, outside the USA, a donut is most definitely a doughnut.

Even in the USA, the usual spelling is 'doughnut' - the 'donut' version came in well after this phrase.
'Dollars to doughnuts' is a pseudo betting term, pseudo in that it didn't originate with actual betting involving doughnuts, but just as a pleasant-sounding alliterative phrase which indicated short odds - dollars are valuable but doughnuts aren't. The phrase parallels the earlier English betting expression 'a pound to a penny'.

The phrase appears to have originated in mid 19th century USA. The earliest citation I can find for it is in the newspaper The Daily Nevada State Journal, February 1876:

Whenever you hear any resident of a community attempting to decry the local paper... it's dollars to doughnuts that such a person is either mad at the editor or is owing the office for subscription or advertising.

It doesn't crop up again in print until some years later, apart from a similar citation in a March edition of the Nevada State Journal, which suggests that the (unnamed) author of those pieces either coined the term himself or appropriated some street slang that he had heard.

OED Online
quote:
c. Colloquial phrases (orig. and chiefly U.S.): bottom dollar, see bottom n. and adj. Compounds 3; (it is) dollars to doughnuts (or (it is) dollars to buttons, etc.), (it is) almost assured; a certainty; (like) a million dollars, see million adj. and n.

1884 G. W. Peck Peck's Boss Bk. 130 It is dollars to buttons that..she will be blown through the roof.
1890 Texas Siftings 8 Nov. 6/3 It is dollars to a doughnut..That some one will start a fire.
1904 Boston Herald 8 Aug. 6 It is dollars to cobwebs that every such person will be disappointed.
1904 Utica (N.Y.) Observer 29 June 6 They talk of fire drills;..it is dollars to doughnuts that not an excursion boat in New York harbor ever had one.
1932 Atlantic Monthly Mar. 390/2 It is dollars to doughnuts not a soul will see him.
1936 ‘J. Curtis’ Gilt Kid xiii. 131 If he were seen it was dollars to doughnuts that he would be arrested.

Of course, since the phrase was coined the donut (doughnut) has gone up a bit in value while the dollar has gone down. I wonder what they cost back then. According to this source a dollar in 1876 is equivalent to $23.93 in 2019.
 
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Tinny, where have you been??? Stick around! I've missed you!

As for the price of doughnutz, look what that Seattle coffee shop did to the price of a cup of coffee!

PS: please vote in the Saigon limerick poll - and submit one next round!
 
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My grandmother used to say, "Oh, go fry a radish!" Either long defunct, or her own invention, as google merely brings up recipes.
 
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I love "go fry a radish!" I am going to use it.

Tinman, I agree - please post from time to time. We've been missing you.

I spelled it donut (which gets a squiggly red line under it!), and Tinman spelled it doughnut. I think donut is much more common in the midwest, though this site says doughnut is much more common, especially outside the U.S. Isn't it Dunkin' Donuts after all?
 
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A few people in the UK might use donut because of influence from US TV but by far the more common spelling here is doughnut.
 
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Do you nut? Yes, I do nut, do you? Confused
 
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