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Off to the salt mine

Posted by James Briggs on May 03, 2006

In Reply to: Off to the salt mine posted by pamela on May 03, 2006

: : I know what it means but was wondering if anyone knows where the phrase
: : "off to the salt mine" originated?

: I don't know, but if you've ever seen pictures of Indian workers in some of the centuries-old salt mines, I think you would agree that it's an apt term for work that is very, very hard and (given that salt isn't expensive) very poorly paid. Pamela

I think this really harks back to the days of the Soviet Union. There are still salt mines in remote parts of the country - Siberia springs to mind. A punishment often meeted out was to be sent to one of these mines, where life was very harsh. Thus, it became a way of suggesting to someone that they had 'sinned'. 'You shouldn't have done that. If you're caught, then it's off to the salt mines for you.'