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More's the pity

Posted by Smokey Stover on February 20, 2008 at 05:41:

In Reply to: More's the pity posted by Frank Tabor on February 18, 2008 at 17:08:

: What is the derivation of the phrase "more's the pity"

The Oxford English Dictionary has this to sayn, and more, s.v. more.

"f. Modifying nouns of quality, condition, action, etc.: greater in degree or extent; more full. Now chiefly in (the) more's the pity."

Many citations of "more" used in this fashion from Old English to the present, but the first use specifically of "more's the pity" cited by them is:

"1562 J. MOUNTGOMERY in Archaeologia 47 233, I..dailie doe heare, of the greate decaie of parrishes in Ingland; the more ys the pittie."

The last example that they cite is:

"1995 Guardian 4 Apr. II. 9/5 You never hear of teenagers exploding, more's the pity."