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Make [both] ends meet

Posted by Gary on February 06, 2005

In Reply to: Make [both] ends meet posted by Smokey Stover on February 05, 2005

: : I heard on SaysYou! that the etiology of "make ends meet" involves the corset: making the two sides of the corset come together in back. I can find no confirmation of this meaning (I only can find reference to the financial meaning: having enough income to cover expenses). I need some documentation of the corset meaning.
: : Thanks for any assistance.

: I can't document the corset theory. The OED quotes the phrase: " to make both, two ends, the two ends of the year, meet: to live within one's income [cf. Fr. joindre les deux bouts, les deux bouts de l'an]," but does not give support to the corset theory. The OED cites it from 1884, no corsets mentioned. SS

The OED also goes further back with:

"1748 Richardson Clarissa IV. 92 And thus went he on for twelve years, and tho' he had a good estate, hardly making both ends meet."

... but again, no mention of corsets.

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