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Keep your elbows off of the table

Posted by Karyl on March 27, 2009 at 14:06

The origin of the saying,"Keep your elbows off of the table". Originally, I just thought this was proper etiquette. Actually, I found out by my father (a history genius), this actually derived from the colonies during the 17th and 18th century. A group of British sailors called "Impressment gangs" would come into taverns, etc. looking for men who had their elbows on the table either eating or drinking. Having one's elbows on the table would mean they were in previous service as a sailor or merchant marine. (Having ones elbows on the table whilst holding a cup or plate, would prevent it from spilling). These "Impressment Gangs" were impressed by the way these men would be eating, and abduct them to serve on British ships. This was completely legal at the time, and this practice occurred in the colonies, Canada, and even Britain.