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All Work and No Play Makes Jack a Dull Boy

Posted by James Briggs on March 18, 2004

In Reply to: All Work and No Play Makes Jack a Dull Boy posted by Bob on March 18, 2004

: : : : The first plase I heard this phrase was in the movie "The Shining". At first I thougt it was a phrase made up for this movie, or the book. But When I saw "The Bridge On the River Kwai" the same phrase was used. Wher does it come from and what is the original meaning of thes phrase ?

: : : It means that Jack needs a vacation or some free time once in a while to expand his horizons and feel better about himself and the world around him.
: : : I have no idea where this came from and I am sure someone will post the origination.

: : Work a little, play a little.

: : ALL WORK AND NO PLAY MAKES JACK A DULL BOY ? ?The sentiment expressed by this proverb was first recorded thousands of years ago by the Egyptian sage Ptahhoptep, who wrote in c. 2400 B.C., ?One that reckoneth accounts all the day passeth not a happy moment. One that gladdeneth his heart all the day provideth not for his house. The bowman hitteth the mark, as the steersman reacheth land, by diversity of aim.? The more familiar modern saying appeared first in James Howell?s ?Proverbs in English, Italian, French and Spanish? , and was included in later collections of proverbs. Some writers have added a second part to the proverb, as in ?Harry and Lucy Concluded? by the Irish novelist Maria Edgeworth: ?All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy/ All play and no work makes Jack a mere toy??? 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).

: The cynical businessman version is "All work and no play makes jack. And plenty of it."

"Jack" is a name commonly used for men in general such as in "Jack of all trades" or "every man Jack of them". The origin of Jack goes back to French where the name for a peasant is Jacques Bonhomme in turn from Jacque a leather jerkin worn by peasants. The diminutive "jacket" lives on in English today.