In Reply to: A cup half full... posted by Graham Cambray on February 15, 2009 at 23:39:
: : A cup half full or half empty. Can someone tell me the exact proverb and where it comes from?
: Gary Martin alludes to this (in a formal entry on this site) at http://www.phrases.org.uk/meanings/butter-side-down.html, and alludes to it being a litmus test for optimism or pessimism. The linked cartoon makes the same point.
: I don't think it's a proverb, and it may even be stretching things to call it a phrase. It's more a concept - pschologists seem to like it, so maybe one of them originated the comparison. But I'll have to leave to someone wiser than I am to (try to) find a first use. (GC)
Regarding the phrase, one reference lists it thusly: The glass is either half empty or half full - the same situation can be viewed in either a negative or positive way. Several variations are included, for example, "The optimist's cup is half full, the pessimist's cup is half empty." The earliest citation is 1985, Ronald Reagan in The New York Times. "You can say it's like the glass half full or half empty..." From "Random House Dictionary of Popular Proverbs and Sayings" by Gregory Y. Titelman (Random House, New York, 1996). Page 116.