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The whole ball of wax

Posted by Janina on August 15, 2010 at 16:26

Not a question, but a comment on the meaning of the phrase "the whole ball of wax". I didn't see this option mentioned on your site. Can't remember where, but I heard it explained this way. Years ago, bookbinders would use gold leaf to stamp the titles into their leather bound books. Being precious, every tiny flake that fell to the worktable was collected by pressing the pieces with a ball of soft wax. When enough had been collected, the wax was melted down and the gold recovered, unless some less than trustworthy apprentice absconded with... "the whole ball of wax."