tight as a tick

David Parker dparker at KENNESAW.EDU
Wed Dec 26 19:51:55 UTC 2007

Phrenological evidence for “tight as a tick” meaning “miserly,” from “Face Value,” a story by Stanley Jones in Life, Jan. 9, 1931, p. 21 (via American Periodical Series): 

   “Oh, Hubert’s not that way at all, really, dear. It’s just a bad tooth that gives him that prominence along the jaw.”*
   “Well,” remarked Fergie, at length, “I may be short on Color and Form, but I’m long on Integrity and Frugality. I’ll say that much for myself.”
   “That bump isn’t Frugality,” said his wife. “It’s downright Stinginess, James, and you know it. You’re tight as a tick.”

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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