Posted by James Briggs on June 23, 2003
In Reply to: The ropes posted by Lewis on June 23, 2003
: : : Does anyone know the origin of the phrase 'I'll show you the ropes'... ie. to show someone the basics/how something is done. Methinks it's a nautical term originally, but where from? Any suggestions?
: : : Cheers peeps.
: : : Kit
: : Not 100% on this but I think it has to do with showbusiness,
with the ropes being used by stagehands to open and close curtains,
lower props etc.
: : So if I am to "show you the ropes" then you are in training to learn a skill.
: hey - why not go back to the builders of the pyramids on this one? they would have used ropes which could be shown to new tuggers and pullers.
: The difference with saying that it was from seamanship, is that the ropes on a ship have different names and purposes - so a new seaman really did need to be shown the ropes - to know which one to pull when ordered. I favour a nautical origin, as it wuld have preceded stage management by a few millennia.
Brewer says it has the above nautical origin