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Re: Off the cuff; straight up

Posted by ESC on September 04, 2001

In Reply to: I wonder why you don't have these........ posted by Kathi on September 04, 2001

:
: "off the cuff" and "straight up"
: I'm pretty sure the latter came from a bartender or
: barmaid. Not sure about the other one, but they mean:
: to be candid and honest, right???
: Thanks,
: Kathi

"Straight up" or "the straight dope" means factual, honest, truthful. But not "off the cuff."

Search the archives under "cuff" for more discussion of that expression. In part it says: "On the cuff apparently arose at the turn of the century. Since bartenders commonly wore starched white cuffs at the time, the theory that our term for 'on credit' derives from bartenders jotting down the debts of patrons on their cuffs during the rush of business is an appealing one. 'On the arm' probably derives from 'on the cuff,' while 'off the cuff,' unrehearsed or extemporaneous, may come from impromptu notes early Hollywood directors jotted down on their cuffs while shooting a difficult scene in a movie. These ideas, not in the script, were conveyed to the actors when the scene was reshot." From the "Encylopedia of Word and Phrase Origins" by Robert Hendrickson (Facts on File, New York, 1997).