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My better half

Posted by ESC on April 02, 2004

In Reply to: Better half posted by sax on April 02, 2004

: Hi, can you please tell me where this saying comes from?

BETTER HALF, MY - "One's spouse, usually said by a man referring to his wife. Marriage is viewed as uniting two people into a single entity - a couple - of which each person is half. The person using the phrase could really respect his partner's contribution to the marriage, or could be saying it in a patronizing fashion. In either event, the expression was in use by 1590, when Sir Philip Sidney (in 'The Countesse of Pembrokes Arcadia') has Argalus enter the scene and, 'forcing up (the best he could) his feeble voice, My deare, my deare, my better halfe (said he) I finde I must now leave thee." From "The Dictionary of Cliches" by James Rogers (Ballantine Books, New York, 1985).