Sunday, 12 June 2011

Mony's a slip

Thur's mony's a slip twixt cup and lip.

This is yet another example of an old English saying that has made it's way into the Ulster-Scots lexicon. It's used to imply that even when the outcome of an event seems certain, things can still go wrong.

(above) Many a slip twixt Cup & Lip

by James Bateman

The proverb supposedly comes from a Greek legend in which one of the Argonauts returns home to his winery. A local soothsayer had previously predicted the Argonaut would die before he tasted another drop of his wine, thus the Argonaut calls the soothsayer and toasts him for the Argonaut had survived his journey. The soothsayer replies to the toast with a phrase corresponding to the above proverb. As he finishes his toast, the Argonaut raises a cup filled with wine to his lips but is called away to hunt a wild boar before he could take a sip. The Argonaut is killed hunting the boar.

The first occurrence of the proverb in English, according to the Oxford English Dictionary, is in Thackeray's Pendennis, 1850.

No comments:

Post a Comment