Red up

Posted by ESC on February 08, 2005

In Reply to: Read the table posted by Steve on February 08, 2005

: : I have heard the term "read the table" or "read the room" referring to clean the table or straighten up the room. I believe this may have its origins from Ireland. I am not sure if it is spelled "read" or is it "redd". Does any one have some insight on this?

: : Thanks

: : Bill

: I am familiar with these terms in a business sense and have heard them expressed for many years by people of my generation (mid-fifties). To "read the table" was meant to quickly and discretely scan all of the people around a conference table when entering a conference room for a meeting so as to gauge or assess the general demeanor of those in attendance. Similarly, to "read the room" meant to do the same thing but in a larger sense.

: Example: "There were rumors around the company that big changes in management were in the works. I was suddenly called on the phone and told to get into the Conference Room ASAP. Not knowing what was going on, I quickly "read the table" (or room) when I entered to see if I could get a reading if I was the subject of the change."

I have never heard anyone say this and have only come across the phrase in books. But, apparently, some country folk in the U.S. use the phrase "red up."

RED UP, REDDING UP, RID UP -- to ready or to clean up. "We went to 'redding up' (after a strong wind had lifed the roof, sending moss and dried chinking mud down on the floor). From "Smoky Mountain Voices: A Lexicon of Southern Appalachian Speech Based on the Research of Horace Kephart," edited by Harold J. Farwell Jr., and J. Karl Nicholas (University Press of Kentucky, Lexington, Ky., 1993).