Posted by Dhm on July 07, 2004
In Reply to: Chatty Cathy posted by ESC on July 06, 2004
: : : : : : : : : What does that and "yank your chain" mean?
: : : : : : : : : Thankx,
: : : : : : : : : Vidhya.
: : : : : : : : From a previous discussion:
: : : : : : : : TAKE IT INTO THE WHEELHOUSE - ".we're going to take it into this administration's supposed wheelhouse." From "Had Enough: A Handbook for Fighting Back" by James Carville with Jeff Nussbaum (Simon & Schuster, New York, 2003) Page 30.
: : : : : : : : : "Right in his wheelhouse" is a common expression in U.S. baseball, though I don't know how old it is, or if it originated as a sports expression.
: : : : : : : : : In baseball, it refers to the location of a pitch that makes it easy to hit for a particular batter.
: : : : : : : : Wheelhouse -- A hitter's power zone. Usually a pitch waist-high and over the heart of the plate.
: : : : : : : : From http://www.delugeonline.com/baseball_lingo.html Accessed March 15, 2004.
: : : : : And Ward said:
: : : : : In business, the expression 'right in his/her wheelhouse' means that the project or the task to be done is right in the middle of the area of competance of the individual. It suggests that there is certainly the capability to do the job --all other things being equal.
: : : : : : : Yanking or jerking someone's chain. My opinion: I believe this phrase comes from jerking a dog's chain which is very disturbing to the dog. Yanking someone's chain is doing something to purposely upset them.
: : : : : : : ("Pulling someone's coat" is alerting him or her to a problem.)
: : : : : : When somebody makes an unwelcome interruption, a sharp reponse is "Who rattled your cage?"
: : : : Jerking a dog's chain is a (strong) signal to stop some behavior, and get back under control. The human extension is similar: when a person in power (employer, for example) feels someone's actions are wrong, inappropirate, destructive, ill-advised, etc., he or she can "jerk the chain" to bring the acton to an immediate stop and re-direction. It may, of course, be the correct or incorrect thing to do, depending on the judgment of the person in power.
: : : Then there's: "Who pulled your string?" Why are you talking? As in the string on a child's talking doll.
: : In the US during college fraternity initiation week, the new member would often have a string tied to his (hmmmm) member and the string would come out the neck of his shirt, with a lable or a tag on it. You could literally and figuratively pull someone's string during this period.
: I was thinking along the lines of Chatty Cathy.
Regarding chains and those who yank them: there is a strong implication of teasing, like pulling the leg. "Ahhh, I was just yanking yer chain."
Wheelhouse. What is the baseball expression referring to? Some engineering arrangement of the 19th Century? I have always pictured to myself something like the housing of an old paddle wheel, but there are probably better possibilities.