Posted by R. Berg on January 31, 2003
In Reply to: Lemon law? posted by TheFallen on January 31, 2003
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: : : Does anyone know the origins of the phrase (left me)stood here like a lemon, parents say it and they are from Hull....I was wondering if it was to do with lemons left rotting in the dock or market ?
: : "Standing around like a lost lemon" is cited in Eric Partridge, "A Dictionary of Catch Phrases American and British" as a "more ladylike version" of "standing about like a spare prick at a wedding," defined as "unwanted, useless, idle, esp. with a hint of painfully embarrassed superfluity." I don't know whether docks and markets were meant originally. At supermarkets, lemons do tend to get left out of the grocery bag if anything does. They're small enough to miss in packing and round enough to roll out of sight.
: Do the wonderful piece of US legislation, known colloquially as the "Lemon Law", and the expression "I was sold a real lemon" stem from the same origin, do you think?
Yes, the same origin as each other, but not the same origin as "standing around like a lost lemon," I think. A lost lemon is one that rolled away. A lemon of a car is one that won't roll anywhere under its own power.