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Re: Land office trade

Posted by ESC on July 21, 2006

In Reply to: Land office trade posted by Doug on July 21, 2006

: My boss asked me what the origin of "Land office trade" was. Her father used the expression all the time.

Here you go.

LAND-OFFICE BUSINESS - "Prior to the Civil War, the U.S. government established 'land offices' for the allotment of government-owned land in western territories just opened to settlers. These offices registered applicants, and the rush of citizens lining up mornings long before the office opened made the expression 'doing a land-office business,' 'a tremendous amount of business,' part of the language by at least 1853. Adding to the queues were prospectors filing mining claims, which were also handled by land offices. After several decades the phrase was applied figuratively to a great business in something other than land, even, in one case I remember, to a land-office business in fish." From "Encyclopedia of Word and Phrase Origins" by Robert Hendrickson (Facts on File, New York, 1997).