Posted by ESC on September 04, 2001
In Reply to: Not On Your Nellie posted by Peter Pritchard on September 04, 2001
: G'day from Aussie,
: we don't have any strange phrases down under, but what about this bonza old pommy one
: anyone got any ideas?
: Cheers, Pete
It sounds from this definition that it is a rhyming variation on "not on your life."
NOT ON YOUR NELLIE! (OR NELLY) - " 'Not on your life!' An intensive tag, dating since the late 1930s. Used by, e.g., Frank Norman in his very readable 'Bang to Rights,' 1958. Short for 'not on your Nellie Duff!'; and 'Nellie Duff' rhymes on 'puff,' breath, breath of life, life itself." From "A Dictionary of Catchphrases" by Eric Partridge, updated and edited by Paul Beale, Scarborough House, Lanham, Md., 1992.