Fee Fi Fo Fum

Posted by Pun Camel on March 08, 2002

In Reply to: Blood and bone posted by R. Berg on March 08, 2002

: : : I came across the written phrase "that which is bred in the bone" and got the sense that it means 'that which is determined by inheritance, or genes'. Is this interpretation right? And how common is the phrase? Thanks. - Patty

: : I've not heard this one before - it looks like an archaic idiom, with the use of "that which...". However, I'd bet that your interpretation is exactly right. "Blood will out" is a fractionally more common phrase with similar meaning.

: "Bred in the bone" sounds familiar. I don't think it means inherited. I think it's used when a trait goes very deep in someone, however the trait came to be there. "Bred" in the sense of educated, trained, reared (compare "well-bred" or "good breeding"). "In the bone" in the figurative sense that the OED gives for that phrase: "to the inmost part, to the core." "A cook she certainly was, in the very bone and centre of her soul" (Stowe, "Uncle Tom's Cabin," 1850).

I smell the blood of an English man. Be he alive or be he dead, I'll grind his bones to make my bred?