Posted by Bob on December 14, 1999
In Reply to: Phrases from where you live posted by Gary Martin on December 12, 1999
: Are there any phrases that originated where you live?
: Here in Sheffield the phrases 'nose to the grindstone'
: comes from the early steel industry, where grinders lay
: face down on platforms over grindstones to sharpen and
: polish cutlery.
: 'The Full Monty' has also become associated with
: Sheffield as the eponymous film was located here,
: although that's a much earlier phrase of course.
: I see lots of traffic to the site (2,000 people/day)
: and wonder where you all come from. Many from the
: USA of course. Looking at the log files it seems
: that the most common location is (if memory serves)
: Vienna Falls, Virginia. I'd guess that this is
: where an ISP like AOL hangs out rather than where
: any of you are sitting.
: Anyway - where are you, and what phrases come from
Chicago for the last 22 years. Although not a native, 22 years
is enough time to adopt local coloration.
Chicago is (and was invented to be) a transportation nexus. Where the Great Lakes met the river to the Mississippi, where the railroads converged. (The railroads had terminals NEAR each other ... but separated by enough distance to require brokers and handlers to transfer goods between stations... the city exists to do commerce.) Add to that a rich mix of immigrants from everywhere (Chicago is the 2nd largest Polish city; some 25% of the city speaks Spanish) and it has become an incubator of linguistic invention. One famous example is "clout." A noun, yes, but a person. One who is high enough in (the police department, or "streets and san") to protect you, and shield you from managerial control. Who's your clout? is a common question among those who lean on shovels around street repair. In other contexts this would be a mentor or rabbi or angel... but none of those terms has the whiff of un-respecability that Clout has.