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A treat

Posted by Kirsten on July 14, 2011 at 15:58

I lived in England for two years in the 1990s (I'm American) and one of my favorite British expressions was the series of sayings that use "a treat" as an adverbial noun. "It works a treat," "That'll go down a treat," etc.

What I am wondering:

1. Where did this use of "a treat" come from?
2. Are there other indefinite nouns used as adverbs that you can think of? I am having difficulty coming up with a true parallel. I thought of "going gangbusters" and "fighting hammer & tong" or "tooth and nail," but they don't seem to have the same structure as "...a treat."
3. What are other "...a treat" phrases I am missing?

Thank you!