"(one's) to lose"

Victor Steinbok aardvark66 at GMAIL.COM
Sun Oct 2 17:04:37 UTC 2011

I'd go further--your interpretation of the old quote is influenced by
current usage. And, for all we know, the expression may be a
calque--certainly was for Cacoyannis's line.


On 10/2/2011 12:33 PM, Jonathan Lighter wrote:
> But the Louis XV's "crown" is both actual and metaphorical: his reign even
> more than the thing on his head. Moreover, the entire context admits of the
> suggestion that if he were to lose it, it would be his own damned fault:
> http://www.archive.org/stream/eighteenthcentur00stryuoft#page/218/mode/2up/search/%22his+to+lose%22
> (The awesome quip that immediately follows is also worth noting:
> "Terray was dismissed on the same day. Everywhere it was said : 'It is the
> Saint
> Bartholomew of Ministers,' and the Spanish ambassador is reported to
> have answered
> :
> 'Yes, but it is not the Massacre of the Innocents.'")
> My SWAG is that the Dickinson-Stryienski quote spent decades as the property
> of professors of French history, quoted occasionally in person but seemingly
> not in print (though I haven't checked JSTOR, for example).  Cacoyannis may
> or may not have been inspired by it.
> Of course, the current use may be completely independent of these citations.
>   JL

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