phrases, sayings, idioms and expressions at


Posted by ESC on August 05, 2000

In Reply to: Question - Please help! posted by Bruce Kahl on August 05, 2000

: : I cannot find these phrases in your website - I wonder if you can tell me
: : the meaning of these phrases.

: : 1. Time and tide wait for no man
: : 2. Just in time or born in the Vestry.

: Just a guess on "born in the Vestry".

: A vestry is a a room used for church meetings and classes and is aka as a sacristy which is a robing room for the clergy.
: So maybe describing someone as being "born in the Vestry" is a way of saying that someone is innocent or not worldly--a country mouse!
: Just a guess.

I didn't understand No. 2. Are these two phrases, "just in time" and "born in the vestry." Or one phrase? PS. Is this a joke? Like the bride was pregnant and the baby was born, "just in time or born in the vestry"?

TIME AND TIDE WAIT FOR NO MAN. "Don't put anything off until a later time; time passes and the opportunity will be lost. 'Tide' is an archaic word equivalent to time. The proverb has been traced back in English to about 1386 Chaucer's 'Prologue' to the 'Clerk's Tale.' In 1546, John Heywood included it in his collection of proverbs ('The tide tarrieth no man'). In 1592, Robert Green added the word 'time' (Time nor tide tarrieth no man'). It is first attested in the United States in the 1656 'History of Plymouth Plantation, written by William Bradford (1590-1657) and published for the first time in 1856. 'Time waits for no man' is a variant'." From "Random House Dictionary of Popular Proverbs and Sayings" by Gregory Y. Titelman (Random House, New York, 1996).

The "Dictionary of Proverbs and their Origins" by Linda and Roger Flavell (Barnes & Noble, New York. Originally published in the UK by Kyle Cathie Ltd. Copyright 1993) has some information that may be relevant to your project. ".No one whose livelihood depends upon the sea can afford to miss the tide whether he be a ship's captain wanting to set sail or a vendor of shell-fish who searches the sands at low tide. Neither the tide or time will accommodate any delays. Opportunities have to be grasped while the time is ripe. Another meaning of 'tide' reinforces the idea of seizing the chance that is presented. It once meant 'season' or 'opportunity,' a sense today only extant in Christmastide, Whitsuntide, etc. Therefore, the proverb very early had the meaning 'Time and season or opportunity wait for no man.' Before long, however, the focus shifted to the inexorable predictability of the sea tide since favoured in the expression."