Posted by Shae on June 12, 2003
In Reply to: Tit for Tat posted by William on June 12, 2003
: Hello Britishers!
: Any ideas for 'Tit for Tat? ...era history? I searched and found Quid Pro Quo, and others suchlike, but I didn't find anything on what the words 'Tit' & 'Tat' are defining... BTW this is my 1st phrase looking/reading, I was suprised to find I actually enjoyed browsing phrases ;) Great site.
: Im a bit curious, is this a school run site or are there just a lot of well-read learned people hanging out here?
Oi!!!!! Britishers? BRITISHers???? He's new to the site, so I suppose I won't launch a blistering blarney broadside, so I won't, to be sure to be sure. In annyway, the site is run by Gary, who minds his own business most of the time, and is peopled by persons of impeccable percipience who like words and stuff.
As to your query, the archive has:
The original was Tip for Tap, a very old expression that evolved into tit for tat in the mid-16th century. Tip meant a hit, a shove. Tap was a retaliatory hit. The meaning is a punishment meted out to pay back an offence, measured to be equal and proportionate. You hit me, I hit you, tit for tat. By the way, tit for tat turns out to be the optimal strategy in Game Theory to guarantee cooperation from an opponent.