Posted by Smokey Stover on April 07, 2006
In Reply to: High, wide and handsome posted by Rachel on April 07, 2006
: : : Anybody heard the phrase "high, wide and handsome" to know where it comes from? I have a definition which means "successfully, masterfully, triumphantly." Origin unknown. But my context is "You still check as to whether or not we haven't busted this thing high, wide and handsome." I get the idea of a bomb or explosion of some kind blowing something up. But wanted to know if anyone had any more concrete information rather than just speculation, although I'll take the speculation too.
: : See
: Gary, Thank you! I can't believe you dug that up! It's great!
I share Rachel's amazement at Gary's knowledge of American lore and language. The reference to Philadelphia may be to the Strawbridge and Clothier store, but I wasn't around in 1905 so I can't be certain. I wasn't around Western New York then, either, "where they take out a lively colt, [and] the farmers say, 'he feels his oats,' and he comes down the road, 'high, wide and handsome.'" I've heard Western New York farmers say the former phrase often enough, but never the latter. Doesn't mean they didn't, but I never heard it. In my time, farmers would have thought that phrase very odd coming out of a farmer's mouth. SS