another reversal: "X has got nothing on Y"

Jonathan Lighter wuxxmupp2000 at GMAIL.COM
Tue Sep 6 12:52:14 UTC 2011



On Mon, Sep 5, 2011 at 11:21 PM, Laurence Horn <laurence.horn at>wrote:

> ---------------------- Information from the mail header
> -----------------------
> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       Laurence Horn <laurence.horn at YALE.EDU>
> Subject:      another reversal:  "X has got nothing on Y"
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> "She's got nothing on Steffi Graf, how quick she plays."
> --Patrick McEnroe, ESPN announcer for U.S. Open tonight, describing
> Caroline Wozniacki's quick pace in serving in tonight's matchagainst
> Svetlana Kuznetsova .  The point was that the long since retired Steffi Graf
> had nothing on Wozniacki, not vice versa.  At least that's how I've always
> heard "X has/had (got) nothing on Y" used: it's always a favorable statement
> about Y, using X as a standard of comparison, as in John Prine's couplet
> from "Christmas in Prison", "Wait awhile, eternity/Old mother nature's got
> nothing on me".
> LH
> ------------------------------------------------------------
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