Posted by R. Berg on June 05, 2001
In Reply to: Origins please of "As daft as a brush" posted by Bob on June 05, 2001
: : Does anyone know the origins of the above?
: Type "daft" into the Search box to find a prior discussion.
A search at the site reached by link from that discussion, using "daft" and "brush," didn't turn up anything for me. I have doubts about the proposed explanation. Falling on one's head would tend to produce death or quadriplegia. Besides, the OED's meanings for "brush" don't include a chimney sweep's young helper. (I read somewhere that sweep's helpers were prone to develop some horrible medical problem, maybe a form of cancer, but I think it resulted from exposure to chemicals.)
It may be relevant that in past centuries "daft" meant stupid as well as silly or insane. Daft as a brush = as stupid as an inanimate object?