Posted by Pamela on December 13, 2006
In Reply to: Re: The cobbler should stick to his last posted by Smokey Stover on December 12, 2006
: : Is it an idiom:
: : The cobbler should stick to his last
: : Thank you.
: Stick to what you know. Do what you do best. I assume you know that a cobbler's last is "a form (as of metal or plastic) which is shaped like the human foot and over which a shoe is shaped or repaired" (from the MWOD). The fellow who shapes or repairs the shoe is a cobbler, of course.
I understood it to be an insult rather than a neutral "stick to what you do best", more like "don't get above yourself". I've noticed on google that there is a persistant explanation that the origin was the artist Apelles (C4th BC) who said this to a cobbler who found fault with the shoes in a painting. Apelles corrected the mistake. The cobbler went on to criticize the shape of the legs when Apelles said "Cobbler, stick to your last!" This may just be an oft-repeated google story, though. Pamela