Head over heels

Philip Hudson
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Head over heels

Postby Philip Hudson » Wed Aug 21, 2013 2:21 am

Head over heels seems to be a misapplied idiom. Aren’t we usually head over heels when we are in our normal sitting or standing position? How did it come to mean the opposite of what it says? Shouldn’t it be heels over head? Someone please explain it to me.
It is dark at night, but the Sun will come up and then we can see.

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Slava
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Re: Head over heels

Postby Slava » Wed Aug 21, 2013 3:39 am

It's not from me personally, but here's a nice write-up on the matter.
Life is like playing chess with chessmen who each have thoughts and feelings and motives of their own.

bnjtokyo

Re: Head over heels

Postby bnjtokyo » Wed Aug 21, 2013 3:57 am

To which I will add
http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/head_over_heels
Here the anonymous author(s) speculate the 14th century phrase was reversed due to "phrasal elegance." Of course, "phrasal elegance" is an ad hoc explanation that seems to be used only to "explain" the revision of "heels over head" to "head over heels." In other words, nobody knows why logic was thrown head over heels to arrive at the current form of the idiom. But isn't that the nature of idioms? The meaning of the expression cannot be determined by the sum of the parts.

Philip Hudson
Grand Panjandrum
Posts: 2071
Joined: Thu Feb 23, 2006 4:41 am
Location: Texas

Re: Head over heels

Postby Philip Hudson » Sat Aug 31, 2013 3:13 am

When the whole is greater than the sum of its parts we call it synergism.
It is dark at night, but the Sun will come up and then we can see.


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