Saturday, August 13, 2005


Odd that there are threats that sound so helpful: “I’m going to fix your wagon” and “I’m going to clean your clock” are fighting words, but it’s difficult to see why. The Internet is unhelpful, so far, and even books devoted to phrase origins are coming up empty.

The Facts on File Encyclopedia of Words and Phrase Origins, by Robert Hendrickson (Checkmark Books, 2004) lacks origins for either phrase, for instance, and Jeffrey Kacirk’s “Informal English: Puncture Ladies, Egg Harbors, Mississippi Marbles, and Other Curious Words and Phrases of North America” (Touchstone, 2005) has only the possibly related “fix one’s flint,” meaning to settle one’s business.

Can anyone help?

1 comment:

Indri said...

I can't, but then I never thought to wonder about these.

I wouldn't mind someone cleaning my clock, if they did the rest of my apartment at the same time. Especially the tub and around the baseboards.