phrases, sayings, idioms and expressions at

Phrases, Sayings and Idioms Home > Discussion Forum

Re: Jonah

Posted by ESC on March 06, 2000

In Reply to: Origin of the expression " to be a Jonah" posted by Carrol Craft on March 05, 2000

: Does anyone know the origin of the expression " to be a Jonah" and what does it mean?

JONAH - "Jonah, one of the most celebrated of the Old Testament prophets, earned his fame just as he did God's disfavor by disobeying the Deity. As punishment, he was thrown overboard during a great storm at sea and wound up, in the words of Ira Gershwin's lyrics for 'Porgy and Bess,' 'in the belly of the whale.' After three days in stygian darkness, he was regurgitated, presumably having learned his lesson. His misadventure has given our language the word 'Jonah,' meaning a person who carries a jinx, one who will bring bad luck to any enterprise. Appropriately enough, the name Jonah in the original Hebrew Yohnah meant 'the moaning one." From the "Morris Dictionary of Word and Phrase Origins" by William and Mary Morris (HarperCollins, New York, 1977, 1988).

And now I have a question. Who was the character in the Lil' Abner comic strip by Al Capp that brought bad luck?