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DYED in the wool

Posted by Bob on September 08, 1999

In Reply to: DYED in the wool posted by ESC on September 08, 1999

: : I'm just 'dying' to find out what this phrase means, and where it came from. Thanks, and sorry for the pitiful pun.

: This from "Hog on Ice" by Charles Earle Funk (Harper & Row, 1948):

: Dyed in the wool -- if wool is dyed before it's made up into yarn, or while it was still raw wool, the color would be more firmly fixed. "The figurative sense -- have one's habits or traits so deeply ingrained as to be inflexible -- seems not to have been used in England before the late sixteenth century, for a writer of that period thought he had to explain his meaning when he used it. This was odd, for England was largely dependent upon her textile industry then and earlier..."

It's a statistical fact that children will adopt the religious and political beliefs of their parents by an overwhelming percentage. They will each feel they arrived at these convictions independently, that they were not greatly influenced by their parents' views. They think of it as oddly coincidental that (even though they strayed in their 20's) they returned in their 40's to share those same affiliations as their parents... Apparently, being died in the wool is undetectable ... from the inside.