"old wise tale"/"old wives tell"

Wilson Gray hwgray at GMAIL.COM
Mon Feb 17 05:30:58 UTC 2014

On Sun, Feb 16, 2014 at 4:50 PM, Laurence Horn <laurence.horn at yale.edu>wrote:

> FWIW, the egg corn database includes hits for "old wise tale", "old wise
> tail", and even "wise tale" without the old.

But not "old wives tell," apparently. "Old wise tail" is interesting for
its unintentional(?) double-entendre. Since I've never seen or heard simply
"wives' tale" where I'd expect "old wives' tale," or ever, I'm not sure
about that one. But...


Also, heard:

"They treated me like a bald-headed stepchild."

All say, "How hard it is that we have to die!"---a strange complaint to
come from the mouths of people who have had to live.
-Mark Twain

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

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