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Re: Giving the business

Posted by ESC on December 19, 2010 at 14:09

In Reply to: Giving the business posted by DB on December 19, 2010 at 10:47:

: What is the origin of "giving me the business"?

: I've heard it used when one thinks they are being kidded, they may ask "are you giving me the business or what?"

It sounds like gangster talk to me. Originated in the United States in the 1920s, meaning to beat up. In the 1940s other meanings developed: to interrogate, to cheat or hoax, to tease or humiliate, to scold, and to flirt with. “Cassell’s Dictionary of Slang” by Jonathon Green (Wellington House, London, 1998). Page 498.