[Ads-l] a good one that Fred has missed

Shapiro, Fred fred.shapiro at YALE.EDU
Mon Oct 5 21:19:22 UTC 2015

Why do you say Fred has missed this?  It's in the Dictionary of Modern Proverbs.  I tend to doubt that this was really a Healyism.  The DMP cites the Wall Street Journal describing "the rule of holes" in 1977, and it also cites a version of the saying from the Washington Post in 1911.

Fred Shapiro

From: American Dialect Society [ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU] on behalf of George Thompson [george.thompson at nyu.edu]
Sent: Monday, October 05, 2015 1:15 PM
Subject: a good one that Fred has missed

A very long obituary in today's NYTimes of Denis Healy, an English
politician ends:
Lord Healey used humor to make precise points, but his most famous line
described all too many situations. What he called “Healey’s First Law of
Holes” advises, “When in one, stop digging.”


George A. Thompson
The Guy Who Still Looks Stuff Up in Books.
Author of A Documentary History of "The African Theatre", Northwestern
Univ. Pr., 1998..

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