Posted by Victoria S Dennis on October 30, 2006
In Reply to: 'going home' posted by James Briggs on October 30, 2006
: : Any suggestions on the phrase 'going home' meaning getting worn out. It's something I have used for years (inhereted from my mother born in Yorkshire) but was given a strange look when I used it today.
: That's a phrase I've not heard in years, nay decades! However, it was very common in the UK in the 1930s to 1950s and often referred to something being so worn out as to be nearly useless. It seems to have gone out of common use since. Origin? I can only guess that the 'home' part of the saying refers to a need to go back to the object's maker, ie so worn out that only a complete renewal could bring it back to life. I couldn't find the saying in the 'Dictionary of Slang' or in 'A Word in Your Ear'
I use it, like the original poster, because I learned it from a parent. I have always assumed a more metaphysical meaning; that "home" is the Great Scrap-Heap in the Sky, to which all engines, toasters, steam-irons, coffee-grinders and the like must eventually go. The phrase certainly dates back to a time when people still heard the Cranmer Book of Common Prayer in church on Sundays, and quotations like "Man goeth to his long home, and mourners go about the streets" would have been familiar.(VSD)