phrases, sayings, idioms and expressions at

End justifies the means

Posted by ESC on August 17, 2003

In Reply to: Be a crowd-puller? posted by ESC on August 17, 2003

: : Hi, I desperately need to know the origins of the following phrases:

: : 1)be a crowd-puller
: : 2)be laid bare for the killing
: : 3)be on the wrong side of the tracks
: : 4) be torn limb from limb
: : 5)come back from the dead
: : 6) the end justifies the means
: : 7)hold the whip-hand

: : Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!
: : Anna

: 1) be a crowd-puller. I've never heard of this one. Could it be like a crowd-pleaser or an entertainer or speaker who can draw a large group of people together??

: 2) be laid bare for the killing. Made vulnerable, open for attack. It makes me think of an execution where the victim's throat would be laid bare - shirt collar buttons unbuttoned, etc.

: 3) be on the wrong side of the tracks. At one time the poorer class of people lived on one side of the railroad tracks and the rich on the other. The poor were from the "wrong" side.

: 4) be torn limb from limb. Literally arms and legs torn off by a predator. Think wolf and rabbit.

: 5) come back from the dead. Have a miraculous recovery.

: 6) the end justifies the means. The idea that any evil is OK if there is a good outcome. Anything is acceptable if it leads to a successful result.

: 7) hold the whip-hand. Be in control. Think master/slave or rider/horse.

Origin/earliest record use of No. 6: END JUSTIFIES THE MEANS -- "The Greek playwright Sophocles wrote in Electra (c 409 B.C.), 'The end excuses any evil,' a thought later rendered by the Roman poet Ovid as 'The result justifies the deed' in 'Heroides' (c. 10 B.C.)." From "Wise Words and Wives' Tales: The Origins, Meanings and Time-Honored Wisdom of Proverbs and Folk Sayings Olde and New" by Stuart Flexner and Doris Flexner (Avon Books, New York, 1993).