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Thick As Thieves

Posted by James Briggs on January 08, 2002

In Reply to: Thick As Thieves posted by ESC on January 08, 2002

: : Any thoughts on this expression's origin?

: From a previous discussion:
: The OED says "close in confidence; intimate; familiar" There's a reference to 1833, but that quote calls it a proverb, so it's older.

: The Dictionary of Cliches by James Rogers (Ballantine Books, New York, 1985) says "thick as thieves" means "intimate, conspiratorially close." And it also refers to an 1833 quote -- from "The Parson's Daughter" by Theodore E. Hook. "She and my wife are thick as thieves, as the proverb goes."

It is based on a French saying "like thieves at a fair", which is an easily understood way of implying collusion. The adapted English form was first used by the author Thomas Hook in "The Parson's Daughter" .

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