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Re: A new lease on /of life

Posted by Masakim on November 09, 2001

In Reply to: A new lease on /of life posted by Neil Frowe on November 08, 2001

: A new lease on life seems to make sense, suggesting that life is once again yours to occupy, like a property. Why then is it always quoted as a new lease of life? Any sources, folks?

new lease on life A fresh start; renewed vigor and good health, as in _Since they bought his store Dad has had a new lease on life_. This term with its allusion to a rental agreement dates from the early 1800s and originally referred only to recovery from illness. By the mid-1800s it was applied to any kind of fresh beginning.
From _The American Heritage Dictionary of Idioms_ by Christine Ammer

OF:
If a revolution were produced by unskilled Socialism in the teeth of a noisy and inveterate Capitalist Opposition, it would prodyce reaction instead of progress, and give Capitalism a new lease of life. (G.B. Shaw, _The Intelligent Woman's Guide to Socialism_)
It [blue moon] took a new, temporary, lease of life in the A.R.P. Services during the second war, but apparently only in [culinary implement]. (J. Franklyn, _A Dictionary of Rhyming Slang_)
The Nazi Revolution had positively given her a new lease of life. (C. Isherwood, _Mr Norris Changes Trains_)
He had presented the firm of Twigg and Dersingham a new and glorious lease of life.... (J.B. Priestly, _Angel Pavement_)
lolly n British money. A well-established, light-hearted word, popular in the 1950s and 1960s and enjoyed a revival, significantly, in the 'Thatcher years' (the mid- and late 1980s), when many obsolescent euphemisms for money had received a new lease of life.... (_Bloomsbury Dictionary of Contemporary Slang_ by Tony Thorne)

ON:
The careless, aristocratic speech heard in eighteenth-century English drawing-rooms has been to some extent supplanted by the stilted and unnatural language recommended by school-masters and lexicographers to whom the Industrial Revolution gave a new lease on life. (T. Pyles, _Words and Ways of American English_)

Not NEW:
Her volunteered for the same colliery, which was enjoying, if that is the word, a second lease of life, having been condemned in the inter-war years. (_The Observer_)