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Work cut out

Posted by ESC on May 29, 2001

In Reply to: Work cut out posted by Bob on May 28, 2001

: : What is the meaning of the phrase "have your work cut out for you"?

: It means there's work (usually a formidible amount) to do, and it's obvious what it is. Whether this is originally from dressmaking, where pattern parts are literally cut out so you see what needs to be assembled... or from, say, carpentry, where sutting the lumber to build the shed has been done... or whatever... the pieces are there, the mission is clear, and the work to be done is evident. Used metaphorically about any pending task: here's your homework assignment: you have your work cut out for you.

I always think of the "Elves and the Shoemaker" story. The pieces were all cut out for the making of shoes. The elves came in that night and finished the work. I actually had a dream along those lines. That the elves came in and finished a work project for me.