Wednesday, 17 August 2011

A Cut Loaf

I wus able tae fin thrie different versions o this aul sayin

"A slice aff a cut loaf's niver miss'd." - Ulster-Scots

"A whang aff a new cut kebbuck [cheese] is ne'er miss'd."-Scot. "

'Tis safe taking a shive of a cut loaf."-Eng.

I have only ever heard this idiom used in the justification of taking, usually without permission, an insignificant item ( one of many). However my research has also revealed a sexual context for the saying. Apparently it is also used colloquially to describe having sexual intercourse with someone who is not a virgin, especially when they are in a relationship. The analogy refers to a loaf of bread; it is not readily apparent, once the end has been removed, exactly how many slices have been taken.

This idiom also appears in - Titus Andronicus -Shakespeare

Demetrius- What man! more water glideth by the mill Than wots the miller of; and easy it is Of a cut loaf to steal a shive we know.

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