"It's Gone All Pear-Shaped!"

Mark A Mandel mam at THEWORLD.COM
Tue Jun 4 16:57:36 UTC 2002

Someone asked on a newsgroup about the origin of the phrase "gone all

I know *what* this phrase means, at least from context--an expression
for a plan gone awry.  (BBC America shows Ground Force, where I heard
Alan Titchmarsh utter it.)

Followups have suggested
 1. the devolution of the male physique in middle age,
 2. what happens when a balloon begins to deflate (quoting Partridge),
 3. the discovery that the Earth is not only not spherical, it's not
cleanly spheroidal either

Any data or other reasonable ideas? (Note: If replying off-list [though
why would you?], remove the obvious spam-blocker from my edress.)

-- Mark A. Mandel
   Linguist at Large

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