Posted by Scott Marsden on October 31, 2000
In Reply to: Tell it to the Marines! Another version posted by James Briggs on October 28, 2000
: To say to someone "tell that to the Marines" suggests that you don't really believe them.
That's pretty much what I said was the traditional meaning, not my own meaning. But while we're relating anecdotes about insults that arent' really insults, Brewer tells a nice one. As mentioned, empty bottles were once known as "marines", because Marines were deemed to be as useless as empty bottles.
As the story goes, a Marine officer was once dining at a mess-table with the Duke of York. The Duke said to the man-in-waiting, "Here, take away these marines." The officer demanded an explanation, and the duke replied, "They have done their duty, and are prepared to do it again."