Posted by ESC on January 06, 2000
In Reply to: "Horses for courses" and "on the threshold" posted by Louise Greig on January 06, 2000
: I would like to find out the origin of the phrases "horses for courses" amd "on the threshold" as I haven't been able to find this out anywhere else. I am quite aware of their current meanings but have been set the task of finding out where they came from and what the originally meant. I would appreciate it if anyone could help me out with this.
: Louise Greig
"threshold. Farmers originally threshed wheat, separated the grain from the chaff, by trodding on piles of it. According to one theory, this trodding seemed similar to wiping one's feet at the doorway of a house, which took the name threshold from such threshing. In any case, the word is first recorded in about A.D. 1000." From "Encyclopedia of Word and Phrase Origins" by Robert Hendrickson (1997, Facts on File).