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The ropes

Posted by James Briggs on June 23, 2003

In Reply to: The ropes posted by Lewis on June 23, 2003

: : : Does anyone know the origin of the phrase 'I'll show you the ropes'... ie. to show someone the basics/how something is done. Methinks it's a nautical term originally, but where from? Any suggestions?

: : : Cheers peeps.

: : : Kit

: : Not 100% on this but I think it has to do with showbusiness, with the ropes being used by stagehands to open and close curtains, lower props etc.
: : So if I am to "show you the ropes" then you are in training to learn a skill.

: hey - why not go back to the builders of the pyramids on this one? they would have used ropes which could be shown to new tuggers and pullers.

: The difference with saying that it was from seamanship, is that the ropes on a ship have different names and purposes - so a new seaman really did need to be shown the ropes - to know which one to pull when ordered. I favour a nautical origin, as it wuld have preceded stage management by a few millennia.

Brewer says it has the above nautical origin