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Down the Pipe

Posted by ESC on November 10, 1999

In Reply to: Down the Pipe or Down the Pike posted by WEL on November 09, 1999

: Big discussion at work the other day over what the correct expression is and its origin ... reference was to work or issues that would be "coming down the pipe/pike" ... my feeling was that it is the latter as it relates to coming down a "turnpike" ...

: Any clarification would be greatly appreciated ...

There's probably phrases using both "down the pike" and "down the pipe." Here's what I found in A Hog on Ice by Charles Earle Funk. "to go up (or down) the pike - We use this so commonly in America to mean up or down the road that we never stop to inquire the source." Mr. Funk says "pike" is a shorten form of "turnpike." Turnpike roads were common up to the middle of the last century and could be built by a private individual, a community or government. ".They were toll roads, the cost of maintenance paid from the tolls of those using the road. But what we today call 'tollgates' were then called 'turnpikes,' a name that itself had long ceased to have any of the original sense. The first turnpikes were really rotating constructions upon which pikes or sharpened rods were mounted. They were effective barriers until the fare of a horseman or coach had been paid, and were then probably rolled or turned out of the way."