Posted by R. Berg on February 10, 2005
In Reply to: Hell in a handbasket posted by ESC on February 10, 2005
: : Firt time here so I used this phrase as a test.
: : According to John Ciardi (as best I can remember), this phrase was used by British(?) miners. A handbasket or handcart was the vehicle that ran on a trolly down into the mines. It carried coal to the surface, but also carried the miners, not an enviable job, down into the mine, a notoriously dangerous place that was sometimes refered to as "hell". Hence, ...
: : This seemed like a pretty simple derivation, so I was surprised to see so many wrong answers. I'll try another.
: Wrong answers?
You aren't assuming, are you, that the simplest explanation of a phrase origin is always historically accurate?