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Whistle in the dark

Posted by ESC on September 08, 2000

In Reply to: Whistlin' in a graveyard posted by Lawyerchk on September 07, 2000

: What is the origin of this phrase? It seems like I have also heard someone use the phrase "whistling in the dark" but I'm not sure. Any info on that would be appreciated also. Thanks.

WHISTLE IN THE DARK - "Be cheerful or optimistic in a situation that doesn't warrant cheer or optimism. It is a great temptation to try to cheer oneself up by whistling or singing in a dark and lonely place. Sigmund Freud, in 'The Problem of Anxiety' , had a thought on the practice: 'When the wayfarer whistles in the dark, he may be disavowing his timidity, but he does not see any the more clearer for doing so.' The notion that one should whistle in difficult circumstances to show that one is not concerned or frightened can be found in Robert Blair's 'The Grave; : 'The Schoolboy.Whistling aloud to bear his Courage up.'" "The Dictionary of Cliches" by James Rogers (Ballantine Books, New York, 1985).