gift of [the] gab (Forum ed.)

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gift of [the] gab (Forum ed.)

Post by rozana_oliveira » Wed Mar 12, 2008 9:10 pm

Please: I´m from Brazil and I am an English teacher. While checking the lyrics of America`s song "Tin Man", there´s a line that says "people share the gift of gab" - what does gift of gab mean? Can you help me? thanks
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Re: meaning of expression

Post by trolley » Wed Mar 12, 2008 9:22 pm

Roz, the "gift of gab" refers to the ability to communicate well by the spoken word. Oratory prowess. Sales people usually have the gift. I think the more important question is "what the heck does the rest of the song mean?"
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Re: meaning of expression

Post by Erik_Kowal » Wed Mar 12, 2008 10:18 pm

In British English, the usual form of the idiom is "the gift of the gab".
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Re: meaning of expression

Post by spiritus » Thu Mar 20, 2008 4:39 am

Erik,
This 'gab' of which you speak, could you tell me something of its origin?
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Re: gift of [the] gab (Forum ed.)

Post by Erik_Kowal » Thu Mar 20, 2008 6:32 am

The Online Etymology Dictionary gives this account:

c.1200, via Scottish and northern England dialect, from O.N. gabba "to mock," or O.Fr. gabber "mock, boast," both probably ultimately imitative. Gabby first attested 1719; gabfest "session of conversation" is 1897 Amer. Eng. slang. Gift of the gab "talent for speaking" is from 1681.
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Re: gift of [the] gab (Forum ed.)

Post by Ken Greenwald » Thu Mar 20, 2008 7:51 am

Hmm. I wonder if folks who have the GIFT OF GAB have a penchant for wearing GABERDINE.

GABERDINE noun:

1) A long, coarse cloak or frock worn especially by Jews during the Middle Ages. Also called gabardine.

2) Chiefly British. A loose smock worn by laborers.

3) A sturdy, tightly woven fabric of cotton, wool, or rayon twill. Also called gaberdine.

By golly, seems like their could be a relationship. But alas [1510–20; from Middle French gauvardine, gallevardine from Spanish gabardina, perhaps a conflation of gabán (Î Ar qab! men's overgarment) and tabardina, diminutive of tabardo, tabard]

And here I thought I was on to something. (>:)
____________________

Ken G – March 20, 2008
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Re: gift of [the] gab (Forum ed.)

Post by spiritus » Thu Mar 20, 2008 8:42 am

Ken Greenwald wrote:
And here I thought I was on to something. (>:)
____________________

Ken G – March 20, 2008
Well Ken, according to the song, Oz did not give the Tin Man what he did not already have. (:-)
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Re: gift of [the] gab (Forum ed.)

Post by spiritus » Thu Mar 20, 2008 8:43 am

Thank you Erik.
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Re: gift of [the] gab (Forum ed.)

Post by Wizard of Oz » Fri Mar 21, 2008 10:55 am

.. who said I greased the Tin Man?? ..

wOZ
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Re: gift of [the] gab (Forum ed.)

Post by Edwin F Ashworth » Sun Mar 23, 2008 1:00 am

British labourers probably don't mind being considered non-u.
Catherine and I passed a warehouse called the "Parts Center" today. Near the centre of Crewe.

Another memory this brings back is of a chat with a rail-fan I met years ago - he was really into the US rail-scene, having spent quite a few years over there. When I mentioned Mallet (I pronounced it "mallay" to rhyme with "ballet") engines, he wisely let drop that the US pronunciation has shifted from that of the Frenchman who invented the articulation system involved to "mallet" as in "for knocking in tent-pegs". He also corrected my "clerestory" (cler-es-torry") to "clear-storey".

I wonder if Roger Wagner ever conducted Richard Wagner.
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Re: gift of [the] gab (Forum ed.)

Post by dalehileman » Sun Mar 23, 2008 4:31 pm

In British English, the usual form of the idiom is "the gift of the gab".--Erik

Interesting, as in my 78 years as an erstwhile Leftpond writer I had never once heard the expr in that form
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Re: gift of [the] gab (Forum ed.)

Post by Tony Farg » Sun Mar 23, 2008 6:53 pm

He's not wrong, though I had always taken it to be an Irish expression...but perhaps that was racial stereotyping. Nonetheless, "gift of the gab" it is for me.
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Re: gift of [the] gab (Forum ed.)

Post by rozana_oliveira » Tue Mar 25, 2008 1:04 pm

I just wanted to thank you all for the answers - from the U.S, Wales and England!
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Re: gift of [the] gab (Forum ed.)

Post by rozana_oliveira » Tue Mar 25, 2008 1:05 pm

...and Canada! Thanks
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Re: gift of [the] gab (Forum ed.)

Post by Bobinwales » Tue Mar 25, 2008 1:45 pm

Surely gab comes from the same root, if not the word itself, as gabble.
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