Posted by Gary Martin on February 20, 2006
In Reply to: Time on your hands Posted by Bob Ford on February 20, 2006
: I am trying to uncover the origins of the phrase :"time on your hands" as in "you have too much time on your hands". I get lots of hits about it's usage but nothing about where it came from. Do you know anything about it's origins?
: Thank you
: Bob Ford
I don't know the origin. It doesn't seem to be especially old though. The earliest the OED has is from Charles Lamb's "Last Essay of Elia", 1833:
"It seemed to me that I had more time on my hands than I could ever manage."
It was known in the US soon after too. It appears in an article in the Gettysburg "Adams Sentinel" newspaper in 1844.