ice to Eskimos

Victor Steinbok aardvark66 at GMAIL.COM
Fri Aug 9 17:00:52 UTC 2013

I've been puzzling over hearing that phrase sometimes. There are two
context, directly opposite:

1) He's such a good salesman, he can sell ice to Eskimos.
2) He's a marketing nightmare. He couldn't sell ice to Eskimos.

My intuitive guess (no research to speak of so far) is that (1) was
first and it somehow flipped in some minds, along the lines of
"couldn't-->could care less".

Any thoughts, research?


The American Dialect Society -

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