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Re: Two mystery phrases...

Posted by James Briggs on September 09, 2003

In Reply to: Re: Two mystery phrases... posted by al on September 09, 2003

: : Does anybody know the origin and meaning of the following expressions? -

: : "...on a hiding to nothing" (Am I right to think it means: 'following a course of action destined to fail' ?)

: : "...by the same token..." (What's
: this 'token' ?)

: In contemporary US media "...by the same token..." seems to be a meaningless seque. The talking head wants to make two statements but risks being interrupted if there is a meaningful pause after the first statement.

A 'hiding to nothing' is used to suggest that there is no way to win in a particular situation. I was intrigued by this combination of words. To start with but I could find no recorded reason why they should be used together in this way. A hiding OR nothing would be clearer. However, later I found the following: 'Hiding,' in this expression, is synonymous with 'thrashing,' and a 'hiding to nothing' means 'a thrashing to bits'.