phrases, sayings, idioms and expressions at

Home | Search the website Search | Discussion Forum Home|

Doing a Cunningham

Posted by ESC on April 08, 2009 at 23:58

In Reply to: Doing a Cunningham posted by Elliott on April 08, 2009 at 17:41:

: I am looking for some clarification on the phrase 'Doing a Cunningham'. This is a phrase that I heard frequently when I was younger and meant that someone had messed something up quite badly when they were supposed to be repairing it. My understanding is that it came from the late 1800s when a man, Winston Cunningham was hired to renovate a house but instead caused it to fall down after damaging the foundations. I tried to find some backing on this as I entered it on Wikipedia but it was taken down - anyone out there that can help me find a source or more information? Thanks.

cunningham or mr cunningham (lowercased for some reason) -- Late 18th century. A fool or gullible person. An ironic pun on Standard English (SE) cunning + SE -ham, a suffix meaning place. "Cassell's Dictionary of Slang" by Jonathon Green (Wellington House, London, 1998). Page 300.