eye for a prune

Douglas G. Wilson douglas at NB.NET
Tue May 11 03:46:05 UTC 2004

>A patron has asked about the meaning of
>the following saying:
>"Don't let them take your eye for a prune"
>The query comes from a librarian at a law firm and in her words "the
>meaning of this phrase is important to the terms of the deal and we are
>trying to document it or its source."

Without claiming any great expertise at anything, I would opine that if the
question is "What is the generally accepted meaning of this sentence?" then
the answer is "There is no generally accepted meaning, since the saying is
generally unknown."

But if the question is "What is likely meant by this sentence?" then it
would be helpful to know the context and something about the person who
wrote/said it.

One possibility, speculating in a vacuum: "Don't allow yourself to be
penalized excessively for a minor tort/offense." ["Eye for an eye" is
'just', "eye for a prune" is not.]

As a likely irrelevancy, I note that the word "prune" has been used for
"black eye" (like "mouse"), although it's been a long time since I heard it
and I can't find an example right now.

-- Doug Wilson

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