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"Devil Take the Hindmost"

Posted by ESC on December 06, 2002

In Reply to: "Devil Take the Hindmost" posted by Bob on December 04, 2002

: : : Hello, I was just wondering whether any one might know the meaning of the phrase, "devil take the hindmost". Thanks in advance for any information.

: : 'Let the devil take the hindmost' may well be said when someone doesn't care too much about the consequence of his actions, as long as he comes out well from the affair. The saying comes from late medieval magic. The Devil was supposed to have a school at either Toledo or Salamanca in Spain. The students, at a certain stage of their training, had to run through a subterranean hall. The last one through was seized by the Devil and became his Imp.

: Two campers, menaced by a bear.
: "Why are you lacing up your running shoes? You can't outrun that bear."
: "I don't have to outrun that bear. I just have to outrun you."

DEVIL TAKE THE HINDMOST, THE - "To hell with the unfortunate. The proverb is found in print as early as 1620 in 'Philaster' by Francis Beaumont and John Fletcher. First attested in the United States in 'Colonial Record of Georgia . It is part of the proverb 'Every man for himself, and the devil take the hindmost." From "Random House Dictionary of Popular Proverbs and Sayings" by Gregory Y. Titelman (Random House, New York, 1996).