Posted by ESC on September 29, 1999
In Reply to: Ten to the dozen posted by David Ingram on September 29, 1999
: SBS is Australia's national multicultiural and multilingual broadcaster. One of our Cantonese broadcasters runs a weekly "Idioms" segment on his program and was interested in the derivation of the phrase "going ten to the dozen". It means going very fast or working very hard. What's the derivation and what is its relation to the posted phrase "nineteen to the dozen"?
I am not familiar with this phrase. But I found this at http://home.echo-on.net/~buzzcorr/index.html A Dictionary of the Language of Coronation Street compiled by Dave Hannah. Coronation Street being a British TV program:
TEN TO THE DOZEN
To talk so quickly or in BROAD (Adjective -- Of speech which is markedly regional.)
that the listener misses the odd thought or two made by the speaker.
Sometimes as, TALK NINE WORDS AT ONCE.