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What goes around comes around

Posted by Baceseras on October 05, 2010 at 14:26

In Reply to: What goes around comes around posted by ESC on October 03, 2010 at 14:51:

: : : : "What goes around comes around" - my granny used to say this to me when I was a little girl if I was naughty I took it to mean, that my actions today would come back to haunt me tomorrow. I grew up in Rural England and am in my fifties so this phrase I know comes from England and has been passed from generation to generation. Anyone know another context or origin? - I'm curious.

: : : One reference said it originated in the United States in the 1970s and was first in print in 1974 in a book, "Donald Writes No More" by Eddie Stone. “Random House Dictionary of Popular Proverbs and Sayings” by Gregory Y. Titelman (Random House, New York, 1996). Page 359. A second reference quotes linguist Margaret G. Lee, American Speech, winter 1999. She said the origin of the phrase is an African proverb and "came into general use via African-American speech." “The Facts on File Dictionary of Cliches,” second edition, edited by Christine Ammer, Checkmark Books, New York, 2006. Page 493.

: : I first heard it, in England, in the 1990s, and (interestingly - to me, anyway) it was a Scot from Dundee that I first heard use it: it made enough of an impact on me for me to remember the occasion.

: : DFG

: I would think it is older than the 1970s. But the above is what I've found so far in the references.

[At some point in the early 1970s this took shape as the most popular form for the vaguely 'karmic' warning that was trendy among young Americans - especially those who thought themselves countercultural. I've never found it recorded in print or voice in exactly these words from before that time. The thought is commonplace, thousands of years old, but the form of words appears to be from the 1970s, by that clever fellow again, Anonymous. - Baceseras.]