fat chance

Lynne Murphy M_Lynne_Murphy at BAYLOR.EDU
Tue Nov 23 05:16:36 UTC 1999

Do any of you phrase-chaser-downers know the origin of the phrase "fat
chance"?  I'm wondering if the original usage was ironic, since a "fat
chance" is really a "slim chance" and since you can only seem to use it
as an exclamation on its own--well at least according to my intuition.
I wouldn't say "He had a fat chance of getting there."  I tried to do a
quick web search for the phrase to see how others use it, but was
inundated by diet sites and fat farms.

Lynne, who likes antonyms rather too much


M. Lynne Murphy, Assistant Professor in Linguistics
Department of English, Baylor University
PO Box 97404, Waco, TX 76798 USA
Phone:  254-710-6983     Fax:  254-710-3894

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