Threw all caution to the wind

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Threw all caution to the wind

Post by aelnamer » Sat Jun 04, 2005 2:18 am

I have heard this said many times,and in a variety of ways.I would be interested to know if it has a specific origin.I checked the rseources and was not able to find anything.
Ahmed
3rd of June,2005
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Threw all caution to the wind

Post by Ken Greenwald » Sat Jun 04, 2005 5:44 pm

Ahmed, The expression is seen as both THROW CAUTION TO THE WINDS and THROW DISCRETION TO THE WINDS or sometimes THROW CAUTION ASIDE. 'Caution' and 'discretion' imply judgment, wisdom, discrimination, sense, circumspection, prudence. So to throw those things away, or aside, or 'to the winds' means to decide on a bold or brazen course and possibly to behave, act, speak impulsively or rashly without due consideration. <“throwing caution/discretion to the winds, he ran to his fallen comrade’s aid.”>

To fling, give, throw, etc. TO THE WINDS as a means a means of dispersal is an old usage dating back to the 17th century, meaning to get rid of, cast aside, reject.
<1667 “And fear of Death deliver TO THE WINDES.”—‘Paradise Lost’ by Milton, IX. page 989

<1885 “You must throw your fears TO THE WINDS”–‘At Bay’ by ‘Mrs. Alexander’ (Mrs. Annie F. Hector, ii)>
There are a lot of things that have been ‘thrown to the winds’ over the years including ‘discretion,’ ‘caution,’ ‘modesty,’ ‘moderation,’ ‘inhibitions’ to name just a few, but for now I’ll concentrate on ‘discretion’ and ‘caution.’

The earliest use of THROW DISCRETION TO THE WINDS (1885) and THROW CAUTION TO THE WINDS (1889) that I could find (and no sources I checked discussed this question) were both, interestingly enough, in reference to boxing matches, and both appeared in the New York Times – possibly written by the same sports writer. The New York Times commenced publication in 1851 and neither of these expressions appeared there prior to 1885. But after that date there was a steady stream of their use there as well as in the Chicago Tribune (after its founding in 1890) and elsewhere. This leads me to believe that the expressions were probably born sometime in the latter part of the 19th century and possibly even in the N.Y. Times in 1885!
<1885 “An ugly light came into the champions [[boxer John L. Sullivan]] eyes, and he THREW DISCRETION TO THE WIND.”—N.Y. Times, 20 January, page 5>

<1887 “. . . there were church members of long repression on the jury, who, face to face with those follies and vices of the world which they usually took pains to avoid, might impulsively THROW DISCRETION TO THE WINDS . . . .”—‘N.Y. Times, 19 June, page 9>

<1889 “In this both men [[boxers]] began cautiously, but SOON THREW CAUTION TO THE WINDS and worked both arms.”—‘N.Y. Times, 10 March, page 2>

<1892 “. . . but when she cabled him that her child was dying, as it seemed to be, he THREW CAUTION TO THE WINDS and embarked on the French steamship, accompanied by an intimate friend and a physician as well.”—‘Chicago Daily Tribune,’ 6 March, page 12>

<1893 “The moment the first pane of glass was smashed [[NYC labor riots]] every one seemed to THROW CAUTION TO THE WINDS.”—‘Chicago Daily Tribune,’ 18 August, page 2>

<1894 “They were helped to sell the price off by the bears, who were bold enough to THROW CAUTION ASIDE.”—‘N.Y. Times,’ 30 March, page 6>

<1897 “. . . but one can readily understand that a party of boys and girls in a happy mood, laughing and singing, THROW CAUTION TO THE WINDS and cannot hear anything.”—‘N.Y. Times,’ 2 June, page 1>

<1902 “A ruler of Turkey who THREW ALL CAUTION TO THE WINDS, summoned every Osmanli [[Ottoman]] to his standard, . . .”—‘N.Y. Times,’ 5 January> [[first example that I found using ALL]]

(Oxford English Dictionary, American Heritage Dictionary of Idioms, Dictionary of Clichés by Rogers)
___________________

Ken G – June 4, 2005
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Threw all caution to the wind

Post by aelnamer » Sat Jun 11, 2005 8:51 pm

Thanks Ken. What piqued my interest is when I heard it being mentioned in a boxing match (not a sport that I usually follow). I was surprised to hear it used in a sporting context. Thanks again.
Ahmed
11th of June, 2005
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Re: Threw all caution to the wind

Post by BobF » Sun Jul 20, 2014 7:38 pm

I have found an earlier use of the phrase 'throws caution to the winds'.

Richard Rolle (circa 1290-1349) wrote a prayer that starts
Come to us, O Christ, as the wind that blows the autumn leaves ...
It concludes as follows:
...desire for you that is unrestrained and a yearning for you that throws caution to the winds, and this for your own love's sake. Amen
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Re: Threw all caution to the wind

Post by Phil White » Sun Jul 20, 2014 10:10 pm

I'm afraid not. Richard Rolle wrote primarily in Latin, but sometimes in English.

What you have quoted is a translation, either from Latin or from Middle English. Either way, the language is far more modern than the 14th century. I have been unable to track down the source of the translation, the source of the prayer in his writings or, of course, the language it was originally written in.

Since the precise wording you quote only shows in recent bulletins from the Methodist church, I suspect that it is a new translation "for the occasion".
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Re: Threw all caution to the wind

Post by Wizard of Oz » Wed Jul 23, 2014 4:18 am

.. Phil until we can actually see the original text, be it in Latin, Greek or whatever, I feel that BobF has a point .. the underlying meaning of casting judgement aside still holds .. although I am aware that there are many examples of religious text being reinterpreted for the audience of the day ..

WoZ who art at the club
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Re: Threw all caution to the wind

Post by JerrySmile » Wed Jul 23, 2014 3:11 pm

BobF wrote:I have found an earlier use of the phrase 'throws caution to the winds'.

Richard Rolle (circa 1290-1349) wrote a prayer that starts
Come to us, O Christ, as the wind that blows the autumn leaves ...
It concludes as follows:
...desire for you that is unrestrained and a yearning for you that throws caution to the winds, and this for your own love's sake. Amen
Whatever the language, the start is great and the end finds an original way of repeating the theme of "wind."
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Re: Threw all caution to the wind

Post by Phil White » Wed Jul 23, 2014 9:43 pm

Okay, I seem to have got most of this sorted out.

The full prayer as quoted by BobF, and which appeared in many Methodist publications in July 2014 is as follows:
Come to us, O Christ, as the wind that blows the autumn leaves, as the song that soothes the troubled child, as the melody that lifts the anxious spirit, and fill us with affection for you that is unbounded, desire for you that is unrestrained and a yearning for you that throws caution to the winds, and this for your own love's sake. Amen.
The last part of this (from "and fill us with") appears to be a translation from Incendium Amoris (The Fire of Love).
Peto Domine Ihesu largiri mihi in amore tuo motum sine mensura, affectum sine modo, languorem sine ordine, ardorem sine discrecione.
My Latin is rather more than rusty, but here goes, with no attempt to be pretty, just to get the words:
I ask you, Lord Jesus, that in your love you increase in me an immeasurable emotion1, a boundless affection, longing2 that is without order [propriety?] and a burning desire without discretion3.

1 "motus" essentially means movement or motion, but can also mean emotion, or even an uprising (rebellion). Here, the idea is "cause me to be moved immeasurably.
2 In classical Latin, this means, unsurprisingly, languor or lassitude. Here, and possibly in ecclesiastical Latin generally, it must mean something like "longing to the point of expiration". "Yearning" in the quoted translation is probably as good as anything.
3 The meaning is closer to "discernment, but I shall let that pass.
No casting of anything to the wind. Just "sine discrecione", "without discretion".

As far as the first part is concerned, I have not been able to track it down in Incendium Amoris. It certainly does not precede the section I just quoted, so if it is from Rolle, it is from somewhere else, or it was a flight of imagination from the translator, in which case, all the wind is from him or her.
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Re: Threw all caution to the wind

Post by Wizard of Oz » Thu Jul 24, 2014 4:20 am

.. Phil I have always admired your scholarship and again I have cause to be impressed ..

.. to BobF I say thanks for providing the impetus for this interlude .. never stop searching and posting ..

WoZ breezing along
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Re: Threw all caution to the wind

Post by Phil White » Thu Jul 24, 2014 9:27 am

Not scholarship. Bloodyminded determination when my intuition tells me something is wrong.

But it wasn't an uninteresting 5 hours of my life. I even have the germ of a theory as to the relationship between medieval mysticism and the courtly love ethos in the light of modern psychoanalytical principles...

Roll on retirement.
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Re: Threw all caution to the wind

Post by Wizard of Oz » Wed Jul 30, 2014 2:32 am

.. how funny is that !! .. just the other day Phil I was musing over the same interconnectedness .. well the light came on when I was in the middle of some mystic love with a principal (retired) ..

WoZ psychoanalysing the mystic
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End of topic.
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