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'Safe pair of hands' - origin

Posted by David Seaman on July 15, 2004

In Reply to: 'Safe pair of hands' - origin posted by ESC (USA) on July 15, 2004

: : : The given meaning of safe pair of hands in Phrase Finder ('A reliable, if somewhat dull, person who can be entrusted not to make a mistake with a task.')seems ok, but not the origin.

: : : The origin is from UK, sure, but comes from the game of cricket where this phrase is most often used. It refers to a fielder or wicket-keeper who rarely drops a catch.

'Safe hands' is what keepers say as an expression of good luck.

You'd never catch me being lobbed, no not me.

: : : The Phrase finder origin for 'safe pair of hands' (UK origin. Applied to politicians or diplomats who were given sensitive work that required careful handling. ) does not appear correct.

: : It all sounds a big 'public school' to me. I'm not so sure the origin is so clear cut given the proximity of Whitehall to the cricket fields of Eton, personel-wise anyway.

: From the U.S. here. I've heard: "He's in good hands." Or "safe hands." But not "safe pair of hands."