Narrows to catch metal toes

Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Wed Nov 12 02:21:56 UTC 2003

At 9:04 PM +0000 11/11/03, Michael Quinion wrote:
>A subscriber has written in with a most intriguing question:
>>  Have you heard the expression "narrows to catch metal toes" said in
>>  mockingly warning way to mean "mind your own business." The person
>>  asking me recalls being told this when trying to pry into Christmas
>>  presents. Where does this come from? The grandparents who said it were
>>  of English ancestry. This expression has been maintained in the Upper
>>  Peninsula of Michigan.
>Any thoughts, anyone?
I wonder if this can be right.  It seems like it might be a
reanalysis, but of what?  There are no hits on google for "catch
metal toes", let alone the full expression, and my northern Michigan
informant (OK, Leelenau County, not U.P.) has never heard of it or
any reasonable permutation.  Maybe a nonce form?  I guess it worked,
if your informant understood it as a warning.


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