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Posted by Smokey Stover on June 13, 2006

In Reply to: GOD'S GREEN EARTH and GOD'S GREEN ACRE posted by Yuri on June 13, 2006

: Dear experts,

: Could you comment on the clishes GOD'S GREEN EARTH and GOD'S GREEN ACRE.

: Thank you,
: Yuri

Unless I misunderstand these phrases myself, "God's green earth" is a phrase celebrating God's gift to us of a world green in its abundance and fertility. God's green acre is, I believe, synonymous with God's little acre, the source of the title of Erskine Caldwell's book, "God's Little Acre." On some farms, particularly those in the southern U.S., a certain area, which might change from year to year, was set aside for a form of tithing, that is, whatever profit it produced would be given to some church. Caldwell's book, sometimes described as steamy, marked the first time many Americans had heard of God's little acre.

The term has been borrowed by various people and organizations for various purposes, including its application to a cemetery in Newport, Rhode Island, containing the remains of African-American slaves.

The word "clishes" presumably is a misspelling of "clichés," a French word used by English speakers to denote a phrase which was once an interesting figure of speech but has now become stale or hollow by overuse. It does not fit either "God's green earth" or "God's green acre." Just call them phrases. SS

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