sitting around like a lemon

Discuss word origins and meanings.
Post Reply

sitting around like a lemon

Post by Archived Topic » Thu Dec 16, 2004 9:14 pm

Why a lemon? Do lemons actually sit around? Why does it imply idleness or laziness? This is one of these phrases that we often use without thinking - we will say "Stop sitting around..." and add "...like a lemon" as an intensifier. How and when did this curious phrase originate?
Submitted by Simon Beck (London - England)
ACCESS_POST_ACTIONS
Signature: Topic imported and archived

sitting around like a lemon

Post by Archived Reply » Thu Dec 16, 2004 9:27 pm

.. Simon the poor old lemon cops it in other ways too .. consider, "He sold me a lemon." where "lemon" means a "dud" .. and "lemon" is also a slang term for a "lesbian" .. ah the acidic nature of the tongue ..
WoZ of Aus 16/12/04
Reply from Wizard of Oz (Newcastle - Australia)
ACCESS_POST_ACTIONS
Signature: Reply imported and archived

sitting around like a lemon

Post by Archived Reply » Thu Dec 16, 2004 9:41 pm

Simon, I don't think this is actually an established saying...a simile like this could include just about anything that was thought appropriate or evocative.
(This is not to be confused with the phrase used in a comprative sense...sitting around like a fool, sitting around like a loser, sitting around like a zombie etc...akthough I'm not sure about "sitting around like a bum"...that could also be a simile :-)
A quick peek on Google shows up the following on the first 2 pages, so I'm sure there are many more too...
sitting around like a bump on a log
sitting around like a bump on a pickle
sitting around like a land-locked state
sitting around like a wet noodle
sitting around like a potato
sitting around like a blob
Sitting around like a polyester stud
Sitting around like a lotus

Rob
Reply from Rob Masters (Thailand - Thailand)
ACCESS_POST_ACTIONS
Signature: Reply imported and archived

sitting around like a lemon

Post by Archived Reply » Thu Dec 16, 2004 9:54 pm

Hmmm...I wonder if we're back to rhyming slang again, which might explain why this expression seems quite common. "Lemon curd" is one of the many RS words for "turd", so it may be possible this is the origin. Anyone (Leighton?) have an insight into this??
R
Reply from Rob Masters (Thailand - Thailand)
ACCESS_POST_ACTIONS
Signature: Reply imported and archived

sitting around like a lemon

Post by Archived Reply » Thu Dec 16, 2004 10:07 pm

"Standing around like a lost lemon" is cited in Eric Partridge, "A Dictionary of Catch Phrases American and British" (1985) as a "more ladylike version" of "standing about like a spare prick at a wedding," defined as "unwanted, useless, idle, esp. with a hint of painfully embarrassed superfluity."
http://www.phrases.org.uk/
And why does it imply laziness? Well I suppose that it's because you rarely see lemons pulling their own weight, or doing anything really other than to just 'sit there'!
Sorry, don't know when it originated. Probably when lemons stopped running around doing all sorts of fruity things.
Reply from Leighton Harris (Cambridge - England)
ACCESS_POST_ACTIONS
Signature: Reply imported and archived

sitting around like a lemon

Post by Archived Reply » Thu Dec 16, 2004 10:21 pm

erm....woudn't a more ladylike version of standing around like a spare prick at a wedding be..."standing around like a spare cunt at a wedding"?
Just asking...
Reply from Rob Masters (Thailand - Thailand)
ACCESS_POST_ACTIONS
Signature: Reply imported and archived

sitting around like a lemon

Post by Archived Reply » Thu Dec 16, 2004 10:34 pm

Rob and Leighton, thank you kindly--excellent threads--and especially for the examples--DH
Reply from dale hileman (Apple Valley, CA - U.S.A.)
ACCESS_POST_ACTIONS
Signature: Reply imported and archived

sitting around like a lemon

Post by Archived Reply » Thu Dec 16, 2004 11:01 pm

And lemons are so appeeling, even if they are just a tad yellow-bellied, I just couldn't resist.
Can't get any more juice out of this one without ade.
Reply from Leighton Harris (Cambridge - England)
ACCESS_POST_ACTIONS
Signature: Reply imported and archived

ACCESS_END_OF_TOPIC
Post Reply