phrases, sayings, idioms and expressions at


Posted by Smokey Stover on November 07, 2009 at 17:35

In Reply to: Far-fetched posted by Victoria S Dennis on November 05, 2009 at 12:48:

: : : You use the expression 'far-fetched' a lot on this site, but its origin is not listed here.

: : It's just a compound adjective. ~rb

: I find it interesting, though, that there is a pejorative implication even in the OED's first citation dated 1583. The word is being used in its original literal sense, but you can hear the "harrumph!" in it: "Farrefetched and deare boughte is good for Ladyes, they say." Nobody could doubt that Stubbes thought people would be better off with sensibly-priced local merchandise. (VSD)

That 1583 quote is interesting--and literal. "What is brought from far away and sold at a high price is what the ladies want." Nowadays we don't use "far-fetched" for imported merchandise, but rather use the term metaphorically. "Your argument is dragged in from left field" (fetched from afar) and is not very convincing. (Forgive the American baseball metaphor, but there you go--I'm American.)