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Re: "not to put too fine a point on it"

Posted by David FG on July 09, 2005

In Reply to: Re: "Not to put too fine a point on it" posted by Smokey Stover on July 09, 2005

: : Can anyone tell me the origin of the phrase "not to put too fine a point on it"? Any responses would be much appreciated. Thanks.

: Looking for the origins of common phrases is usually a vain pursuit. However, you may be interested in what the OED has to say: "d. fig. phr. to put too fine a point upon: to express with unnecessary delicacy; not to state bluntly or in plain terms. (Chiefly in negative contexts.) [Earliest citation found:] 1852 DICKENS Bleak House. xi, He was{em-dash}not to put too fine a point upon it{em-dash}..hard up!" SS

I would imagine it has its origins in either pencils or quill pens which would be used for delicate work if sharpened to a fine point, but for cruder stuff if left blunt.

DFG