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time on your hands

Posted by Gary Martin on February 20, 2006

In Reply to: Time on your hands Posted by Bob Ford on February 20, 2006

: I am trying to uncover the origins of the phrase :"time on your hands" as in "you have too much time on your hands". I get lots of hits about it's usage but nothing about where it came from. Do you know anything about it's origins?

: Thank you
: Bob Ford

I don't know the origin. It doesn't seem to be especially old though. The earliest the OED has is from Charles Lamb's "Last Essay of Elia", 1833:

"It seemed to me that I had more time on my hands than I could ever manage."

It was known in the US soon after too. It appears in an article in the Gettysburg "Adams Sentinel" newspaper in 1844.