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Carry the mantle / mantel

Posted by Larry on March 27, 2004

I noticed the use of the phrase "carry the mantel" recently, which struck me as a bit off. Seems that the primary definition of "mantel" is the shelf above a fireplace, while "mantle" refers to a garment. It would probably be easier to carry a mantle. Any suggestions on origin -- I didn't find the phrase in the OED.