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Origin

Posted by Ojeirol on May 08, 2001

In Reply to: Re: Cuts no ice posted by R. Berg on April 28, 2001

Phrases are typically coined out of practicality or some utilitarian purpose. Consequently, this does have to do with usefullness of cutting ice. However, ice skating may have utilitarian value, but, not really. The ice being referenced here is a). ice that is being cut on a lake/pond for ice fishing and is usually quite thick. If your knife could not cut through thick ice, you could not catch fish, and therefore, not eat --- very practical, or b). ice that is being cut to make blocks of ice for an icebox as a method to cool and store food. Also, ice is being referenced in this saying as a substance that is relatively easy to cut. Consequently, the conclusions that have all been drawn her are accurate. If an implement cannot accomplish the task for which it was designed, it has no purpose. So, the phrase is a way to refer to someone as useless, by way of analogy to tool that needs to be replaced. If the tool can't do the job, get a new tool. Good way to get yourself fired if your boss told you you couldn't cut ice. Another one to think about on this point....."I couldn't find my head if it weren't attached."