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Carved in stone

Posted by Shae on September 03, 2002

In Reply to: Carved in stone posted by ESC on September 03, 2002

: : What is the origin of the phrase "carved in stone"?

: I haven't found anything in my references yet. But it refers to words actually "carved" in stone -- as in a tombstone, a memorial or the Ten Commandments. If it is carved or set in stone, it can't be changed.

I don't have any references but I have always understood that the term refers to the Ten Commandments which, being carved in stone by the biblical God, were immutable. Thus, 'It's not carved in stone' means 'it's the general rule but we can make exceptions.'

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