Posted by Smokey Stover on February 05, 2004
In Reply to: Curb your hilarity! posted by ESC on February 05, 2004
: : : There is now a creative and funny program on a cable channel in the states called "Curb Your Enthusiasm". The title phrase is one I've heard all my life, with no sense of its origin or history. Can anyone help?
: : : I can remember hearing, "Curb your tongue, knave!" In other words, "Be quiet!" or "Shut up!"
: : There is also the gentle reminder to, "Curb your dog!" meaning "Please have your dog do its business at the side of the road."
: : I am unsure of its origin.
: I found a reference to similar catchphrase - "Desist! Curb your hilarity!" That was a "quip" used by George Robey. From "Dictionary of Catch Phrases: American and British from the Sixteenth Century to the Present Day" by Eric Partridge, updated and edited by Paul Beal, Scarborough House, Lanham, Md., 1992)
: I don't know if the two phrases are related.
"Curb your enthusiasm" is an ironic remark made when the speaker's suggestions or comments have met with a total absence of enthusiasm. It's a humorous acknowledgment that one's ideas have gone over like a lead balloon. SS