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As tight as a duck's arse

Posted by Graham Cambray on February 18, 2009 at 16:51

In Reply to: As tight as a duck's arse posted by Roger Adams on February 17, 2009 at 10:32:

: Where did the expression 'As tight as a duck's arse' come from?


As nobody else has had a go at this one, I'll start things off - but I'm not going take this very far. Hopefully others will.

This was one of my father's set phrases, and he was born in 1913 (in the UK). It's been around for a while, then. A couple of sites on the web describe it as Australian slang, but I've not found anything authoritative and worth quoting.

This is one of a family of phrases which deliberately pun on multiple meanings of a word, and whilst appearing to refer to tight meaning watertight (or possibly commenting on the muscular condition of the sphincter), I know this phrase as meaning "mean or miserly" - it's most common usage. But it is also currently used, it seems, in the sense of "having your act together", as in "that band we saw last night was as tight as a duck's arse". And one or two uses which refer to "tight" muscles after prolonged exercise.

Sorry that this is only a vague start. (GC)