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A month of Sundays

Posted by Smokey Stover on November 10, 2008 at 16:40

In Reply to: A month of Sundays posted by ESC on November 09, 2008 at 20:17:

: : Do you know who first used the expression "a month of Sundays", or where it originated?

: We have discussed this before on several occasions. But we didn't have a definite origin. Anyone have new information? //

The Oxford English Dictionary cites, as its earliest printed example of this phrase, "1759 H. MURRAY Life & Real Adventures Hamilton Murray I. x. 121 The commander..swore he should dance to the second part of the same tune, for a month of Sundays." It seems very unlikely that this phrase was a coinage by Mr. Murray but rather something he was familiar with because it was in common use.

It is used in the meaning of "a very long time." Used negatively it can mean effectively never. But it seems to me that 30 or 31 Sundays, or that many weeks, is not such a very long period of time, sub specie aeternitatis. Perhaps the reason it is heard so infrequently nowadays is that we have learned to think big.