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"up the spout"

Posted by David FG on August 18, 2005

In Reply to: "Up the spout" posted by Bruce Kahl on August 17, 2005

: : Does somebody know where the phrase "up the spout" or "shove it up the spout" comes from? I've been seeing a lot in P.G. Wodehouse to refer to pawning something and was wondering where it came from.

: I saw a few references stating that "spout" used to mean the device ( lift, for those in Blair Land ) used in a pawnshop for sending deposited articles up for storage.

: So if anything - or, by transference, anybody - is up the spout, there are difficulties.

: Is the mirror image of this called "going down the tubes"?

The phrase 'up the spout' can also mean pregnant (in the UK at least) though I am sure that Wodehouse never used it to mean that.


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