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enough to make a sailor a pair of pants

Posted by Victoria S Dennis on December 30, 2006

In Reply to: enough to make a sailor a pair of pants posted by James Briggs on December 30, 2006

: : on seeing a patch of blue sky on a cloudy day my mother-in-law would say "is it enough to make a sailor a pair of pants?" anyone ever hear of that?

: Quite common in the East End of London when I was a boy, except it was 'trousers' and not 'pants'.
: I still hear it from time to time and it doesn't seem to be a dead saying. I guess 'sailors' because they have always had a traditionally blue uniform and the service is much older than air forces, which, in any case, often started off wearing khaki, eg USAAF before it became USAF.

Another traditional version is "to make a Dutchman a pair of trousers". The image here is of the huge baggy blue trousers of Dutch national costume. British sailors have always traditionally worn bell-bottomed trousers, so perhaps the allusion in both cases is to the size as well as the colour. (VSD)