Posted by ESC on October 16, 2001
In Reply to: Tea-related phrases - silver spoon posted by ESC on October 15, 2001
: : : I am looking for the meanings and/or origins of the following:
: : : Tea for two and two for tea
: : : A spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down
: : : A tempest in a teapot
: : :
: : : As useless as a chocolate teapot
: : : Born with a silver spoon in his mouth
: : : Fit to a T
: : : Not for all the tea in China
: : : Not my cup of tea
: : : Suits you down to a tee
: : : The cup that cheers
: : : There's many a slip twixt cup and lip
: : : Wake up and smell the coffee
: : : It's not worth crying over spilt milk
: : "Tea for two and two for tea": Title of song popular in early 20th century.
: : "A spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down": Song from the film "Mary Poppins," 1964.
: : "The cup that cheers but does not inebriate": Slogan promoting tea as an alternative to alcohol, mid-19th century; associated with the temperance movement.
: BORN WITH A SILVER SPOON IN HIS MOUTH -- "He got his wealth by inheritance rather than by working for it. It is an old tradition for godparents to give their godchild a spoon (perhaps more than one) at the time of christening; among the wealthy; it was usually a silver spoon. Sometimes it was a set of 12, each with the figure of a different apostle at the upper end of the handle, hence the term, apostle spoons. Presumably a child receiving silver spoons was from a wealthy family and would not have to worry about money. Cervantes in 'Don Quixote' reminds us that it is not so with everybody: 'Every man was not born with a silver spoon in his mouth.'" From "The Dictionary of Cliches" by James Rogers (Ballantine Books, New York, 1985).
"The earliest spoons were made of wood, the word 'spoon,' in fact, deriving from the Anglo-Saxon 'spon,' 'a chip of wood.' Until the last century most people used pewter spoons, but traditionally, especially among the wealthy, godparents have given the gift of a silver spoon to their godchildren at christening ceremonies. The custom is centuries old throughout Europe." From the "Encyclopedia of Word and Phrase Origins" by Robert Hendrickson (Facts on File, New York, 1997).
"Every man is not born with a silver spoon in his mouth. Not everybody is born to wealth. A silver spoon is a traditional gift given by godparents when the baby is born; not everybody can afford a silver spoon. The proverb is in Peter Motteux's translation of Cervantes' 'Don Quixote' (1605-15). First attested in the United States in the 'Adams Family Correspondence' . The proverb is found in varying forms: Every man is not born with a silver spoon, let alone a gold one; A lot of people were born with silver spoons in their mouths.State Treasurer Ann Richards of Texas in a keynote address to the Democratic National Convention in 1988 humorously changed the proverb by suggesting that George Bush was 'born with a silver foot in his mouth.'." From "Random House Dictionary of Popular Proverbs and Sayings" by Gregory Y. Titelman (Random House, New York, 1996).