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'you're a real piece of ..........

Posted by ACME on September 02, 2004

In Reply to: 'you're a real piece of work' posted by Lexi on September 02, 2004

: : I used this expression in an email recently, and then tried to get some information about its origin. There is a reference to Hamlet, but little else I could find. Any thoughts on when this entered our lexicon?

: Hamlet (II, ii, 115-116)
: "What a piece of work is man! How noble in reason! How infinite in faculties! in form and moving, how express and admirable! in action like an angel! in apprehension, how like a god! the beauty of the world! the paragon of animals!........Man delights not me; no, nor woman neither, though by your smiling you seem to say so."

How did we get from Hamlet to calling a pretty woman a piece of.........?