Posted by Shae on July 30, 2003
In Reply to: Stick one's spoon in the wall posted by ESC on July 30, 2003
: : I have no idea of the origin of this phrase but my Irish born in-law's use it to mean died. As in: He has stuck his spoon in the wall. It is a source of merriment to us all in sad times.
: I've never heard that one. (I'm in the U.S.) I wonder what it means. Maybe a custom -- someone dies and his/her spoon is "retired"?
: Under "death" in the archives there is a discussion of expressions meaning death.
I hadn't heard it either, but I found this on the web:
Stuck his Spoon in the Wall: Took up his residence. Sometimes it means took up his long home, or died. In primitive times a leather strap was very often nailed to the wall, somewhere near the fireplace, and in this strap were stuck such things as scissors, spoons for daily use, pen-case, and so on. In Barclay's Ship of Fools is a picture of a man stirring a pot on the fire, and on the wall is a strap with two spoons stuck into it.
Brewer's Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, http://www.bootlegbooks.com/Reference/PhraseAndFable/data/1185.html