Posted by Lewis on August 23, 2004
In Reply to: Tidings posted by Henry on August 23, 2004
: : : : plz send some info on the above phrase
: : : It's actually quite literal. And I think the saying is: Time and Tide waits for no man (and very few women). Just kidding about the bit in brackets.
: : : Time is not something man can tamper with, it just keeps marching on regardless. Equally so with tides. Man hasn't yet figured out how to control the tides, although we've possibly messed about so much in other areas, that we might just have messed with tides.
: : : Nonetheless, this phrase is simply saying, that no matter what you do, you can't stop time nor tides and it won't wait for you while you mess about. So, if you've got something important to do, don't procrastinate, because neither time nor tide will wait for you.
: : TIME AND TIDE WAIT FOR NO ONE MAN/TIME AND TIDE WAIT FOR NO MAN - Proverb from the late 14th century. From "The Oxford Dictionary of Quotations," Fifth Edition, edited by Elizabeth Knowles (Oxford University Press, Oxford and New York, 2001).
: : Another reference has more detail. It says, in part: Time and tide wait for no man -- "A familiar saying from the days of sailing ships (when tides determined departure times), this maxim was recorded in its earliest form as 'For wete you well the tyde abydeth no man,' which appeared in Everyman (c. 1500).Virtually the modern saying appeared at the end of the eighteenth century in Andrew Barton's 'The Disappointment or The Force of Credulity' . Barton rendered the saying as 'Time and tide waits for no one,' and the exact modern wording was recorded a few years later by Sir Walter Scott in 'Fortunes of Nigel' ." From "Wise Words and Wives' Tales: The Origins, Meanings and Time-Honored Wisdom of Proverbs and Folk Sayings Olde and New" by Stuart Flexner and Doris Flexner (Avon Books, New York, 1993).
: : A third source says it dates "in English to about 1386 Chaucer's 'Prologue to the 'Clerk's Tale.'..." From "Random House Dictionary of Popular Proverbs and Sayings" by Gregory Y. Titelman (Random House, New York, 1996).
: There's some argument about the meaning of tide. It may just be a repitition of time, as in Whitsuntide, in which case it would have no connection with the sea.
: From Bartleby; Time and tide wait for no man. The processes of nature continue, no matter how much we might like them to stop. The word tide meant "time" when this proverb was created, so it may have been the alliteration of the words that first appealed to people. Now the word tide in this proverb is usually thought of in terms of the sea, which certainly does not wait for anyone.
If 'time' and 'tide' were synonymous, then it is a tautology to say 'time and tide', but I suppose that if 'tide' were being used in the sense of religious festivals, such as Eastertide, then there would be a nuance of meaning. being a nautical nation, the fact that ships/boats depend on the tide of the sea for their sailings reinforces the expression. ships could often only navigate through various nautical hazards at high tide when the ship would have maximum clearance, or in the case of tidal causeways, people could only travel across at low tide. Holy Island (Lindisfarne) still has a tidal causeway and people need to check the tide times table to decide when to travel over.