Posted by John Thayer Jensen on January 22, 2001
The 'origin' entry for this simply says that it dates back to 1672. I am curious as to the source of the meaning. I have always presumed that the water in the phrase was the water of baptism, and that it was a justification for feuding between families (both of which were Christians). I have no evidence for this view, however. It is speculation. Does anyone have any evidence?
John Thayer Jensen
System Administrator, Commerce Computing
University of Auckland