Posted by TheFallen on October 16, 2004
In Reply to: It was up to my grille posted by gille on October 16, 2004
: It was up to my grille
: When did *up to one's grille* first originate?
I've not heard this expression used figuratively, but I expect it could be. In case anyone doesn't know, a "grille" at least in the UK is found at the front of a car and is the slotted air intake that serves to cool the radiator when the car's in motion. (The reason I'm explaining this is that I'm well aware that car parts tend to be called something entirely different in the US - viz bonnet/hood, boot/trunk, petrol/gas, speedometer/odometer etc - and I don't know whether you guys across the pond call a grille something different).
So, if you're driving through water and it comes up to your grille, it's getting to the stage where you may stall and then you'll be in trouble and in for some wet ankles. It's not the water coming up to the grille that's actually the problem... the danger's at the other end where if the water level rises above exhaust (tail) pipe level, then you will almost certainly stall.
This is why my preferred practice when faced with an expanse of road flooded to a depth of 8 or more inches is to gun my car through it at some speed, the theory being that the forward motion of the car will cause enough of a displaced wake to keep the exhaust pipe clear. It's worked so far.