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Re: Done & dusted

Posted by Lewis on January 27, 2003

In Reply to: Re: Done & dusted posted by Bob on January 25, 2003

: : : Posted by Julian Henderson on May 18, 2000

: : : Can anyone tell me what the phrase 'done and dusted' means and also how it originated?

: : : and to

: : : Posted by Bruce Kahl on May 18, 2000

: : : In Reply to: Done and dusted posted by Julian Henderson on May 18, 2000

: : : From looking at a couple dozen web sites with your phrase as the search target, I would guess that the term means "finished with" or "completely done".
: : : Just a guess, but maybe it is a housekeeping term--put away the junk etc. and then get out the vacuum cleaner so you can say that the house has been "done and dusted"!
: : : Or,
: : : Maybe it is a law enforcement term describing a crime scene after the forensic people finished dusting for prints.

: : : Now the truth about done and dusted

: : : This phrase came into common parlance in 1997, due to the fact that Trinity Students Union's, (Dublin, Ireland), officer board had decided to form an alliance with STA and during our deliberations for a name for our travel agency in July 1996 we decided on DUST. Then one bright spark, I forget who, stated that this particular deal was truely done and dusted. It became quite apparent after a while that alot of people where using this term including the media from that date on and in 1997 it was quite common to hear news presenters on ITV, Channel 4, BBC and RTE use this phrase. The phrase was applied by us to show that a particular business deal had been finalised, not that a house had been cleaned or that we had forensicly examined the scene of the crime. We happened to choose two words from the english language and fit them together to suit our needs and express ourselves and our satisfaction with our accomplishment.

: : That phrase has been in common parlance in the UK since at least 1930.
: In the U.S., too, it has not been uncommon for a long time.

You'd expect that phrase to go back to when dwellings became "nice" and when rushes on the floor etc had departed. I would guess that people only started dusting in the last 300 years, but I could be wrong. I would think it is a very straight-forward phrase meaning concluded and referring to the domestic chores of a room being arranged/tidied and then dusted. Perhaps there is an early example in literature?