Movers and shakers

Posted by ESC on April 20, 2000

In Reply to: Movers and shakers posted by ajkfh on April 20, 2000

: : to the best of my knowledge, the phrase movers and shakers first emerged in a U.K. poem called 'Ode
: : in the 1800's, but I don't know who wrote it. any ideas?

: I have found the phrase on the brewers database.
: tx

There's is a long discussion of the phrase "movers and shakers" in Safire's New Political Dictionary by William Safire (Random House, New York, 1993). It says, in part:

"Movers and shakers. opinion leaders, influentials, especially those who are political or economic activists...The phrase was coined by nineteenth-century poet Arthur O'Shaughnessy:
We are the music-makers
And we are the dreamers of dreams..
Yet we are the movers and shakers of the world forever, it seems.

The phrase is often used with a faint note of derision at those who believe themselves to be powerful."