Posted by Lewis on October 14, 2005
In Reply to: Half mast posted by David FG on October 08, 2005
: : : Where does the saying "What happened, has the cat died?" come from when someones trousers are short or "half mast"
: : I don't know. I would imagine it started as a code phrase between friends or family members.
: I don't know, but as flags are traditionally flown at half mast as a sign of mourning, maybe it is being suggested that the short (or 'half-mast') trousers are in honour of a dead cat.
as DFG says, it is tradition that as a sign of respect/mourning, flags are flown half way up the flag-pole ('half-mast') - clothing only half-pulled up (or down) could be said to be at 'half-mast (esp. used re trousers and socks). the weak joke is that to draw attention to the clothing being improperly worn, the joker asks if somebody has died - because XYZ is at half-mast.