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  #21  
Old 20 July 2012, 05:09 PM
samclem samclem is offline
 
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pudding Crawl View Post
Brewer's gives the opera explanation, but doesn't have a date for it.
From the link given by Mack four years ago,

Quote:
But we now know that Cook didn’t invent it. Fred Shapiro has found and published an example in the Yale Book of Quotations which appeared in the Dallas Morning News on 10 March 1976. This is the full quote:
Despite his obvious allegiance to the Red Raiders, Texas Tech sports information director Ralph Carpenter was the picture of professional objectivity when the Aggies rallied for a 72-72 tie late in the SWC tournament finals. “Hey, Ralph,” said Bill Morgan (Southwest Conference information director), “this ... is going to be a tight one after all.” “Right,” said Ralph. “The opera ain’t over until the fat lady sings.”
There's no way it's anything but a USA Southernism.
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  #22  
Old 28 January 2013, 01:09 AM
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Furienna Furienna is offline
 
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I too always assumed that this expression came from opera.
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  #23  
Old 28 January 2013, 07:47 AM
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Richard W Richard W is offline
 
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Originally Posted by samclem View Post
There's no way it's anything but a USA Southernism.
1976 really isn't that different from 1978... as Pudding Crawl said, this phrase appears in Brewer's Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, as a reference to opera. My edition was updated in 1996 but the book itself has been around since the 1870s - it would be interesting to see which edition it first appeared in.

A Word in your Shell-Like by Nigel Rees (2004) does call it a "modern proverb".

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Relatively few modern proverbs have caught on in a big way, but of those that have, this one has produced sharp division about its origin.
He has the same quotes from the 1970s that have already been produced, but agrees that those aren't the "origin" as such. But it does seem that the opera version is probably not the original and is only one of several variants including the church one quoted in the article above, and "the game's not over till the fat lady sings".

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Another widely shared view is that the saying refers to Kate Smith, a handsomely proportioned American singer in the 1930s and 1940s. Her rendition of Irving Berlin's 'God Bless America' signified the end of events like the political party conventions and World Series' baseball games.
I'm quite surprised that it's apparently so recent.
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  #24  
Old 28 January 2013, 10:01 AM
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Pudding Crawl Pudding Crawl is offline
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by samclem View Post
From the link given by Mack four years ago
Yes, I'd seen Mack's link from 'four years ago' (imagine!), thankyou. I was not disagreeing with it as such. RichardW mentioned books, I thought one of them might have been Brewer's, and that it might include a derivation.

Btw. it was in the 1996 one, but not in the 1894 'enlarged' (but still vastly smaller) edition.
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  #25  
Old 29 January 2013, 06:08 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TrishDaDish View Post
Why would the number 8 look like two fat ladies? Did pool sharks suffer from double vision back then?
A sideways 8 looks a little like two zeros. There's an old joke about how a skinny person standing next to a fat person resembles the number 10.
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  #26  
Old 30 January 2013, 01:31 AM
samclem samclem is offline
 
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Richard W View Post
1976 really isn't that different from 1978... as Pudding Crawl said, this phrase appears in Brewer's Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, as a reference to opera. My edition was updated in 1996 but the book itself has been around since the 1870s -
I can assure you it doesn't appear in any version before 1978.
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