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Poverty

Postby Slava » Thu Jan 21, 2010 6:34 pm

Does anyone out there know how poverty came to be referred to as "grinding?"
Life is like playing chess with chessmen who each have thoughts and feelings and motives of their own.
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Postby bnjtokyo » Tue Jan 26, 2010 7:18 am

I don't know how, I don't know when, but the earliest usage I was able to find is in the title of Chapter 4 of "The Nest of the Sparrow Hawk" by Baroness Emmuska Orczy published in 1909. (She was also the creator of the Scarlet Pimpernel)

It would appear the phrase has been with us for awhile. Can anyone find an earlier usage? Perhaps someplace in Dickens?
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Postby skinem » Wed Jan 27, 2010 7:51 pm

Not for sure, but having experienced it, I understand how it can feel that way...perhaps because it tend to grind people down in spirit, motivation, health, etc.

Interesting question. I was thinking that about the only other adjective you hear in association with poverty is 'abject'.
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Postby Slava » Wed Jan 27, 2010 10:54 pm

How about deep, crushing, abject, grinding poverty?
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Postby sluggo » Thu Jan 28, 2010 3:42 pm

I've never heard this one.
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Postby LukeJavan8 » Thu Jan 28, 2010 8:32 pm

The conversation reminds me of Haiti. I've visited there,
and it is deep, grinding poverty. Memories I wish I could
forget, but probably better that I don't.
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Postby Slava » Thu Jan 28, 2010 8:40 pm

LukeJavan8 wrote:The conversation reminds me of Haiti. I've visited there,
and it is deep, grinding poverty. Memories I wish I could
forget, but probably better that I don't.
I guess that explains the need for a sheep, eh?

By the by, if you like opera, one was made of The Little Prince. It's rather fun.
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Postby LukeJavan8 » Thu Jan 28, 2010 8:49 pm

I need the sheep for the wool: warmth. It is going below
zero tonight, again and again.

I love the Little Prince. Used the French version years
ago in 2nd year French which I used to teach.
I don't know if I've ever seen the 'opera". Is that the
same as the movie with Richard Kiley and Gene Wilder???
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Postby Slava » Thu Jan 28, 2010 8:58 pm

I didn't know about the movie, I may have to check it out one of these days.

Here's a link to the opera CD:

http://www.amazon.com/Rachel-Portman-Li ... 47&sr=1-12
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Postby LukeJavan8 » Thu Jan 28, 2010 10:17 pm

Hey, I am very appreciative. I put it on my wish list.
It is not the same as the movie, I mentioned.
The movie with Gene Wilder is decades old, and there
is another with Joseph McManners done recently
(he is 17 yrs. now), but I cannot find it except on YouTube.
Thanks, I will be getting this CD.
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Postby bnjtokyo » Fri Jan 29, 2010 5:38 am

I've found a couple more examples that push back the date of this expression a few years:

"Grinding poverty will have that effect . . . " James Joyce, Ulysses (The Night Town section I think)

"Besides, foreigners could not see so clearly as the Russians how much the Government was responsible for the grinding poverty of the masses."
Samuel Clemens, Letter dated July 1, 1890
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Postby LukeJavan8 » Fri Jan 29, 2010 12:34 pm

Obviously this phrase has been with us for awhile.
I wonder on the word "grinding", grinding the
poor into the ground? I get the image of a drill
digging for oil or whatever. I know that is the meaning
and it is surely a powerful one.
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Postby sluggo » Fri Jan 29, 2010 12:34 pm

Ah, those are adjectives though. Seems to me adjectival use is a wide open field. I thought the intention here was grinding used as a gerund.

And/or possibly related to the idiom "back to the old grind".
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Postby LukeJavan8 » Fri Jan 29, 2010 12:39 pm

I don't see how you mean, 'back to the old grind"
in "deep, crushing, abject, grinding poverty."
(It is probably just me: just making conversation.)
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Postby sluggo » Fri Jan 29, 2010 12:48 pm

That was just a guess as to what the question was. As originally worded I thought it was suggested that grinding was used as a gerund ("the grinding")- a usage I've never actually heard. If the question is on adjectival use, well that would be very hard to pin down, as we all apply whatever adjective suits our fancy at the time.

Anyway, "back to the old grind" is the only use of grind I can think of even tangentially related to the idea of hardship.
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