Saying: The man who drinks whiskey before he is forty is a fool . . .

ADSGarson O'Toole adsgarsonotoole at GMAIL.COM
Wed Sep 4 19:42:22 UTC 2013

Great! Thank you very much for taking the time to search for the
expression, Hugo.

The entry on the QI website has now been updated, and I added the
following statement to the acknowledgement section: Special thanks to
correspondent Hugo who located the 1900 citation.

Thanks for helpfully pointing to the saying "A fool at forty is a fool
indeed". I did come across the expression during my original search.
It is listed in The Oxford Dictionary of Proverbs and the Yale Book of
Quotations. The Oxford reference lists a precursor in 1557. What to
include in a post is a subjective decision, and I decided to omit the
proverb for now.

Also, thanks to Victor for his response.


On Wed, Sep 4, 2013 at 4:03 AM, Hugo <hugovk at> wrote:
> ---------------------- Information from the mail header -----------------------
> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       Hugo <hugovk at GMAIL.COM>
> Subject:      Re: Saying: The man who drinks whiskey before he is forty is a
>               fool . . .
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> Journal of Social Science : Containing the Proceedings of the American Association., December 1900, no. 38, page 127:
> [Begin]
> The best judges of the proper use or abuse of alcohol are medical men, who carefully note causes and effect. I would rather have personally observed facts than whole tomes of theories. In youth alcohol is of no benefit: it is harmful. In the aged it is a blessing, if used properly. Some one has said, " A man is a fool who drinks before he is fifty, and a blank fool who does not do so moderately thereafter." Whiskey should be taken by the aged when overcome with fatigue and before taking food, as a tired man has a tired stomach; and a small portion of the stimulant will lift up the vitality and make good digestion possible.
> [End]
> Google snippet:
> Hathitrust full view:
> ---
> Without the booze from Edward Young in 1726:
>         • Be wise with speed;
> A fool at forty is a fool indeed.
>                 • Satire II, l. 282.
> Google Books full view:
> ---
> Hugo
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> The American Dialect Society -

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