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"no bones about it"

Posted by Bruce Kahl on July 31, 2000

In Reply to: "No bones about it" posted by Brian on July 31, 2000

: Does anyone know where this phrase comes from? I hear a lot of people saying "there's no bones about it", meaning "absolutely sure"

This is a very old expression going back to the mid 1500's and I found 2 theories from the Word Detective.
It may have originally arisen as a metaphor, referring to someone who did not make a fuss if bones turned up in his or her soup or stew. Or it may be based on "bones" being a very old slang term for dice. Someone who "made no bones" would be a player who simply cast the dice when his turn came, omitting all the mystical little rituals (such as blowing on, or talking to, the dice) gamblers often develop to conjure up good luck in a game.