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Browned off

Posted by James Briggs on August 26, 2010 at 10:05

In Reply to: Browned off posted by Colin Arch on August 25, 2010 at 17:22:

: Where did the phrase "browned off" come from? My partner - who comes from a farming background - says that corn that has been subject to heavy rainfall goes brown in colour and is said to be "browned off".

Here's what I found out a few years ago.
Browned off, meaning "fed up", is a now somewhat dated expression, common in the second World War. Its origin is uncertain, but it seems probable that it is related to "brown study", since both imply a sense of sadness. However an alternative offering goes back to London slang where a "brown" was a penny. To be browned off in this sense meant that you had to give a penny, say to a bothersome brother, to go away and not be a nuisance.

See also: the meaning and origin of the phrase 'Browned off'.