Monday, August 9, 2010

Brass Tacks

This morning, as I was mulling over what to share about my absolutely incomparable and fabulous weekend and addressing how I must proceed from such a concentrated celebration of couplehood to assure a well-deserved repeat, I was thinking about using the expression, “Get down to brass tacks.” I found the origin of the expression (as reported by phrases.org) to be even more immediately compelling than my tales of guns and butter.  

Meaning
Engage with the basic facts or realities.

Origin
The figurative expression 'getting down to brass tacks' isn't particularly old as phrases go. Its first known appearance, in the USA in 1863, was in the Texas newspaper The Tri-Weekly Telegraph:

"When you come down to 'brass tacks' - if we may be allowed the expression - everybody is governed by selfishness."

All of the other known early citations either originate in, or refer to, Texas. It is reasonable to assume that the phrase was coined there, in or about the 1860s.

What has been lost in the last 147 years is the ability to get down to brass tacks.

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