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Cut and dried

Posted by ESC on January 06, 2001

In Reply to: "Pretty cut and dry" posted by ESC on January 06, 2001

: : What's "preety cut and dry" --flowers? And why does it mean simple,easy, no brainer....? Thanks.

: I thought it referred to hay. Just goes to show you, you never know. And I would say the meaning is that something is a "done deal," "all over but the shouting."

: CUT AND DRIED - "There is a widely held belief that the common expression 'cut and dried' - meaning 'something already prepared' - came from 'jerky,' thin strips of sun-dried beef that once were staples of the cowboy's rations on long trail drives. Actually, this meaning of 'cut and dried' is older than the oldest cowboy by a few centuries. It goes back to the ancient practice of cutting wood and letting it dry out thoroughly before using it in a fire." From Morris Dictionary of Word and Phrase Origins by William and Mary Morris (HarperCollins, New York, 1977, 1988).

I wanted to add one more thing. "Cut and dried" often has a negative meaning. For example, regarding an official proceeding someone might say, "It was all cut and dried." Meaning that the powers-that-be decided things beforehand in secret, not letting the "little people" have a voice in making decisions. That brings to mind another phrase: "smoke-filled rooms." Those are the back-rooms where everything is "cut and dried" beforehand.

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