Posted by R. Berg on June 04, 2001
In Reply to: On a hiding to nothing posted by trish hurst on June 04, 2001
: What on earth is the derivation of this expression. I have searched all the usual sources and can find nothing
Is that British? I haven't heard it here (U.S.). Eric Partridge, "A Dictionary of Catch Phrases American and British," has an entry for it but doesn't say exactly how it originated:
"Usu. prec. by 'he's' or 'they're.' Bound to be defeated: (?) since c. 1960, but very much in the vogue early and mid 1970s. 'Common. I suspect mainly political or business. It appeared in a headline in The Sunday Times, 25 Sep. 1977' (Playfair)."