I see no brine...

mbx_pdx
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I see no brine...

Postby mbx_pdx » Sat Sep 10, 2005 3:20 am

So why are we in a pickle again?

Did the term really originate from the process of brining foodstuffs? Or is it related to the metallurgy term meaning [to the best of my knowledge] "to remove or clean a certain type of metal from a soldered or welded product?" [Or the chemical used for doing so...]

Either way, it's caustic. Does anyone have a concrete explanation or at least another hypothesis?
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Postby Brazilian dude » Sat Sep 10, 2005 10:27 am

According to 2107 Curious Word Origins, Saying & Expressions from White Elephants to Song Dance:

in a pretty pickle

Behind the 8-ball; the devil to pay and no pitch hot; in trouble; in a sorry plight. The Dutch, from whom we borrowed "pickle" and also the original phrase some four or five hundred years ago, said in de pekel zitten, literally to sit in the salt liquor used for preserving vegetables and meats. Such a bath, one can well imagine, would not long be comfortable. From time to time through the years our forebears have intensified the expression in such manners as "ill pickle," "sad pickle", "sweet pickle," and nowadays, "pretty pickle".

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Postby M. Henri Day » Sat Sep 10, 2005 11:58 am

Brazilian dude wrote:...

The Dutch, from whom we borrowed "pickle" and also the original phrase some four or five hundred years ago [emphasis added [sub]MHD[/sub]], said in de pekel zitten, literally to sit in the salt liquor used for preserving vegetables and meats. ...


Douglas Harper states, without giving details, that the expression turns up in 1562.

In any event, it must have been current when Shakespeare (or somebody using his name) penned The Tempest. Amazon offers a book, In a Pickle And Other Funny Idioms, by Marvin Terban and Giulio Maestro (Illustrator), which just might be able to tell us more - has anybody seen it ?...

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Postby Stargzer » Mon Sep 19, 2005 10:47 am

The Online Etymology Dictionary has a reference for pickle and these related terms:

- marinate
- Davy Jones
- condiment
- souse
- sauerkraut


Vegetarians do it with relish but wear a condiment! :wink:
Regards//Larry

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