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Dry as a bone

Posted by ESC on June 24, 2000

In Reply to: Dry as a bone posted by ESC on June 07, 2000

: : This should be a simple one but I cant find anything on "DRY AS A BONE". Can you help?

: I can't find anything specific on "dry as a bone" in my phrase origin books. But the Bible has several reference to "dry bones." "The valley...was full of bones...and, lo, they were very dry." Ezekiel 37:1-2; and "O ye dry bones, hear the word of the Lord." Ezekiel 37:4.

: To me, "dry bones" refers to the bones of long-dead creatures. Bones picked clean and drying in the hot sun. Bones like the skull of a cow in the desert, an image that's become a visual cliche. Dry as a bone, in that instance, is very dry indeed.

: Suddenly I have an urge for a glass of ice water.

BONE DRY - "Very dry; lacking in alcoholic beverages. The image of dry bones in a human grave or of the bones of an animal long dead in the wild is not one frequently encountered these days, so it is quite remarkable that a term deriving from the earlier time should hang on as it does. Actually, dry as a biscuit, dry as a dog, and dry as dust are older still, all appearing in print as early as the 16th century." From "The Dictionary of Cliches" by James Rogers (Ballatine Books, New York, 1985).