Posted by ESC on October 16, 2003
In Reply to: I wash my hands of the matter posted by ESC on October 16, 2003
: : Hi everyone, I need some help with my homework......so what do these expressions mean-I wash my hands of the matter and Waiting for a phone call, I was on tenterhooks?
: : Thanks
: : Elizabeth
: The first is from the Bible:
WASH ONE'S HANDS - "When you wash your hands of something, you have dismissed it from your attention and plan to pay it no further heed. The expression comes from the action of Pontius Pilate." in the Bible. From "Morris Dictionary of Word and Phrase Origins" by William and Mary Morris (HarperCollins, New York, 1977, 1988). In other words, it is a way of saying "don't blame me. I'm not responsible." Matthew 27:24 "When Pilate saw that he could prevail nothing, but that rather a tumult was made, he took water, and washed his hands before the multitude, saying, I am innocent of the blood of this just person: see ye to it."
TENTERHOOKS - "A tenter is a framework on which newly woven cloth is stretched, and a 'tenterhook' is one of the hooks on the frame which holds the material taut. Thus a person 'on tenterhooks' is in a state of great tension or suspense, with anxiety or curiosity 'stretched' to the utmost." From "Morris Dictionary of Word and Phrase Origins" by William and Mary Morris (HarperCollins, New York, 1977, 1988).