Posted by ESC on January 15, 2000
In Reply to: At sixes and sevens posted by Vic Harding on January 14, 2000
: Although "At sixes and sevens" appears here when searched, I
wonder why it does not appear in the A-Z list. I understand it to
mean distracted or confused.
: Derivation anyone?
From "Hog on Ice" by Charles Earle Funk: (paraphrased) The expression is believed to be 150 years old at least (this written in 1948). An older form, "on six and seven," was known in Chaucer's day and he used it in 1375 in "Troylus and Cryseyde." But he didn't explain it. Mr. Funk thinks Chaucer's use referred to an old dicing game. From Chaucer and other sources, we know there was a game where to try a throw of six and seven was a very risky gamble. One who staked his win on such a throw was reckless in the extreme.