Posted by Gary on May 05, 2000
In Reply to: A night on the tiles. posted by Louise on May 05, 2000
: I saw a young lady walking home on this nippy May morning. She was only wearing a flimsy evening dress and looked really rough having obviously spent a night on the tiles! But where does the phrase come from? I'd appreciate your help.
According to the OED:
on the tiles:
[after the nocturnal activities of cats] on a spree, on a debauch.
It doesn't seem to be a very old phrase. I can't find a reference of its use earlier than 1906 anyway.
(steady on Gary old bean - that's the kind of comment that usually precedes evidence of Shakespeare having learnt it from his granny or somesuch)