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Swings and roundabouts

Posted by Henry on February 15, 2004

In Reply to: Swing and roundabout posted by Bob on February 15, 2004

: : "What one loses on the swings one gains on the roundabouts."

: : In this idiom, are "swing and roundabout" the playthings of children? roundabout = merry-go-round?

: : Then how did this idiom come about? Why with "swing and roundabout"?

: : BTW, do you know how did the word "seesaw" come about?
: : Why is it spelt this way?

: See"saw`\, n. [Probably a reduplication of saw, to express the alternate motion to and fro, as in the act of sawing.] 1. A play among children in which they are seated upon the opposite ends of a plank which is balanced in the middle, and move alternately up and down.

: Source: Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary, © 1996, 1998 MICRA, Inc

: (I'm getting a lot of mileage out of cutting and pasting from the dictionary this morning....)

From the archives on this site; SWINGS AND ROUNDABOUTS: This is a shortened version of the fairground proverb 'What you lose on the swings you win on the roundabouts', current from the beginning of the twentieth century in various forms. It is used to mean that things will balance out in the end. Penguin Dictionary of Cliches.
I must admit that the reason for this meaning is not clear to me. I thought that you paid to ride on both.