holidays

Discuss word origins and meanings.

holidays

Post by gdwdwrkr » Wed Jan 10, 2007 4:06 pm

--skips in painting, coating, gilding. This colorful term was new to me this morning. I wonder when it came to be used in this way, and whether anyone ever had happy ones.
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Post by Bobinwales » Wed Jan 10, 2007 6:26 pm

My grandmother used to check my grandfather's painting for holidays, then she would check my father's, and eventually mine, she was born in 1890ish, in south Wales.
But having said that, when I have invited a second pair of eyes to check for holidays, I always have had to explain.
I still use the expression though, it's one of those things that keep a warm memory alive.
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Post by MamaPapa » Wed Jan 10, 2007 7:23 pm

Hah!! My grandmother used to use the same term (she was born in 19teens, a 9th-generation Irish-American in Appalachia). My earliest recollection of its usage is looking for pine needles (from the "holiday" tree) stuck in the paint on the back porch. I recall grandma laughing and saying that a holiday was when the paint, or the painter, took a little vacation and missed a spot. My grandfather's business had a paint shop for ornamental iron work, etc. and he used the same terminology. A fond memory, James.

I don't know if that sheds any holiday light---but if Grandma said it, it must be true!
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Post by gdwdwrkr » Wed Jan 10, 2007 8:16 pm

Hah! So there ARE holiday trees!!!!!!!!!!(Did you just make that connection, or did the family call it that?)
And thank God for Grandmas.
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Post by Ken Greenwald » Wed Jan 10, 2007 9:58 pm

James, Bob, and Jamie, I never heard it, but I like it. It’s definitlely a fun expression with whimsical imagery from days of yore. And to my surprise I did find it listed in a number of sources:

HOLIDAY noun: 1) Especially nautical: A place (spot or task) overlooked, forgotten, untouched, or neglected in a piece of work, especially a gap on a surface to be painted, coated, or scrubbed; (hence an unusual gap in a line of objects). 2) U.S. Navy a) A task that has been forgotten or neglected, an unfinished or unsatisfactory job, circa 1935 (see 1941 quote below). b) A flaw in a piece of equipment or other item. c) A space left unswept in a minesweeping operation. 3) Aviation. A bright patch visible in an overcast sky (see 1955 quote below). 4) Military post-WWII. An unintentional omission in imagery coverage of an area.

(Historical Dictionary of American Slang, Dictionary of American Regional English, Oxford English Dictionary, Chapman’s Dictionary of American Slang, War Slang by Dickson, Swear Like a Trooper by Priest, Dictionary of American Slang by Wentworth & Flexner)
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Evidently, this usage of HOLIDAY began its life as a nautical term and the earliest example I found was in A Classical Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue (1785) by Captain Francis Grose (edited and with comments by Eric Partridge, 3rd edition, 1963):

HOLIDAY Sea term: It is ALL HOLIDAY

All HOLIDAY: A holiday is any part of a ship’s bottom, left uncovered in paying it [cf. Cornish holiday: indicating parts left undusted, unswept, uncleaned, unpainted – English Dialect Dictionary (1898-1905) by Joseph Wright]

TO PAY: To smear over. To pay the bottom of a ship or boat; to smear it over with pitch. [[there is a connection to THE DEVIL TO PAY, which I’ll discuss in a separate posting]]
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A Dictionary of Slang and Unconventional English by Eric Partridge

HOLIDAY: (Generally plural) 1) A spot carelessly left untarred or unpainted: nautical colloquialism—1785 (Grose, 1st edition; Bowen). Also among builders and house-painters: 19th and 20th century. 2) Hence, a gap 'left between slung hammocks or clothing hung up to dry’: nautical: late 19th-20th century. Bowen [[see 1929 quote below]]. 3) (from sense 1) Gone for a holiday, imperfect, incomplete, flawed: colloquialism: later 19th-earlier 20th century.
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<1785 “A HOLIDAY is any part of a ship's bottom, left uncovered in paying it.”—‘Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue’ by Grose> [[see above defintion of ]]'To PAY'

<1840 “He only thinks of leaving no HOLIDAYS (places not tarred).”—‘Two Years Before the Mast’ by R. H. Dana, viii. page 18>

<1882 “HOLIDAYS, parts left untouched in dusting. ‘Don't leave any HOLIDAYS.’”—‘Dialect of Cornwall’ by Jago>

<1899 “He would have tarred the rigging from the fore-royal to stay to the topping lift (and left no ‘HOLIDAYS’).”—‘Gam’ by Robbins, page 5>

<1909 HOLIDAY . . . Chiefly Nautical, Slang. A neglected piece of work."—‘Webster’s New International Dictionary’>

<1916 “The tiny bare spots remaining after a painter has drawn his brush hastily over a surface are ‘HOLIDAYS,’ spaces in which the painter did not work.” (Cape Cod, Maine)—‘Dialect Notes,’ Vol. 4, page 266>

<1929 “Holidays. Patches missed when painting or tarring down, also gaps left between slung hammocks or clothing left to dry.”—‘Sea Slang’ by Bowen, page 67>

<1941 “Holiday—A poor job; interstices on a paint job.”—‘A Guide to the Naval Academy’ by Maryland WPA, page 151>

<1945 “A man who leaves HOLIDAYS in his work . . . Not free time, but unfinished portion of work, as a spot left unpainted. Even in sweeping, a portion of the ocean left unswept is a HOLIDAY.—‘California Folk Quarterly,’ Vol. V, page 388>

<1949 ‘A space left when painting the ship’s side or scrubbing the decks. “Get on with the job and, mind, no bloomin’ ‘OLIDAYS.’” Also a gap in a line of caps on the hooks in a cloak-room.’—‘Sea Slang’ by Granville, page 122>

<1955 “Those fighting wisps of moisture . . . joined hands, and fought back to close the ‘HOLIDAYS’; lightning lept from layer to layer.”—‘Look of the Eagle’ by R. L. Scott, page 244 [[bright patch visible in an overcast sky]]

<1987 “HOLIDAY, gap in painting, or swabbing deck.”—‘Boot’ by Daniel da Cruz, page 301>
Ken G – January 10, 2007
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Post by Erik_Kowal » Wed Jan 10, 2007 11:43 pm

G W Bush's presidency has been one long holiday.

Woohoo! How the blood surges!
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holidays

Post by MamaPapa » Thu Jan 11, 2007 8:51 pm

gdwdwrkr wrote: Hah! So there ARE holiday trees!!!!!!!!!!(Did you just make that connection, or did the family call it that?)
And thank God for Grandmas.
Well, we definitely celebrate Christmas...but we coincidentally had a holiday tree, too. My grandparents' anniversary was Dec 23 and we gathered every year for that holiday celebration [still do, even though both have gone on] with our very large family. Grandpa was also a minister, so we celebrated the anniversary and Christmas separately, you see. But one tree held gifts for both occasions.

I suppose our "holiday tree" was correct before it was "politically correct"...?
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Post by Edwin Ashworth » Tue Jan 16, 2007 12:02 am

Doc Holliday certainly left a few gaps in some of the people who came to see him.
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Post by Erik_Kowal » Tue Jan 16, 2007 12:04 am

Regardless, he remains a celebrated figure.
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Post by Edwin Ashworth » Tue Jan 16, 2007 12:55 am

Conscientious, too. He was so concerned about doing a thorough job he invented what we now know as "Corral Draw".
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Post by Erik_Kowal » Tue Jan 16, 2007 6:26 am

For him, the lasso was the Achilles tool.
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Post by Ken Greenwald » Tue Jan 16, 2007 8:09 am

Say! Wasn't Etude Brutus the tune composed in honor of Caesar receiving his permanent Roman HOLIDAY?
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Ken G - January 15, 2007
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Post by Erik_Kowal » Tue Jan 16, 2007 8:19 am

When its lyrics were written, a caesura represented his transition to the afterknife.
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Post by Edwin Ashworth » Thu Jan 18, 2007 2:33 pm

I've never been a fan of Classical and Western.
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Post by Erik_Kowal » Thu Jan 18, 2007 2:54 pm

What about Baroque and Roll?
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