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Digging a hole to China/ half-way

Posted by SR on October 14, 2004

In Reply to: Digging a hole to China posted by David FG on October 14, 2004

: : Thoreau used this phrase in the 1850s about a hole his neighbors were digging. What is the origin of this expression? Does anyone know of an earlier usage than Thoreau's?

: In the UK the expression is 'to Australia' (for fairly obvious reasons it is different from the US). It is used when a hole is so deep that it is (humorously) supposed to be going to go right through the earth and come out the other side.

Once I asked some students, "If it takes six and a half hours to dig a hole, how long does it take to dig half a hole?" I was surprised at some of the responses.