yarn

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yarn

Post by Archived Topic » Tue Dec 14, 2004 12:21 pm

Asking the question about story, got me thinking about the use of
yarn for a tall tale. Yarn was what my mother knitted with. I looked it
up and it comes from the Greek for string.
Submitted by Gary Wallington (Akolele - Australia)
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yarn

Post by Archived Reply » Tue Dec 14, 2004 12:34 pm

Gary, This YARN, story or tale, comes from the early 19th century expression to SPIN A YARN, which means to tell a story, especially a long, involved, exaggerated account of one’s exploits and adventures, both real and imagined. When the story is totally fanciful, it is also known as ‘a tall tale.’ <This old-timer really knows how to spin a yarn.> <Whenever he is behind schedule and is going to miss his deadline, he spins a yarn about unforeseen circumstances.>

‘To spin a yarn’ was originally a sailor’s expression which meant ‘to weave hemp into rope.’ During this tedious and time-consuming task, sailors often traded tall tales and adventure stories to help pass the time. Those stories thus became known as ‘yarns,’ and their telling as ‘spinning of yarns.’
<1812 “Yarning or SPINNING A YARN, signifying to relate their various adventures, exploits, and escapes to each other.”—‘Flash Dictionary’ by J. H.Vaux>

<1835 “Come, spin us a good YARN, father.”—‘Jacob Faithful’ by Marryat, ix>
(Urdang's Picturesque Expressions, American Heritage Dictionary of Idioms, Ayto’s Dictionary of Word Origins)
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Ken G – December 6, 2004
Reply from Ken Greenwald (Fort Collins, CO - U.S.A.)
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yarn

Post by Archived Reply » Tue Dec 14, 2004 12:47 pm

Thank you Ken.
Reply from Gary Wallington (Akolele - Australia)
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