chickens come home to roost

Barnhart barnhart at HIGHLANDS.COM
Thu Feb 2 14:40:03 UTC 2006

I found "chickens come home to roost" in as early as
Aug. 16, 1843 in the Loraine Republican.


barnhart at

American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU> on Thursday, February 2,
2006 at 8:55 AM  wrote:

>---------------------- Information from the mail header
>Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
>Poster:       "Landau, James" <James.Landau at NGC.COM>
>Subject:      Re: apologies
>On the contrary.  Considering all the recent clucking about "don't count
>your eggs until they hatch", that line about "the chickens coming home
>to roost" made your post most relevant.  A case, I suppose, of the
>chickens coming home to the rooster.
>My recollection is that the phrase "the chickens coming home to roost"
>was invented (or more likely popularized) in a controversial statement
>by a well-known/notorious black activist circa 1970.  I suppose I'll
>have to wait for Fred Shapiro's new book to check it out.  I can't
>remember who the activist was, but it may have been one H. Rap Brown,
>the eponymous founder of rap music.
>         - James A. Landau
>PS The true story of the Scarlet Pimpernel:  he was an English nobleman
>who eventually was captured by the Jacobins, but he refused to talk
>under torture.  So the Jacobins tried an ingenious ploy.  They put him
>in the guillotine FACE UP.  The earl took one look at the blade of the
>guillotine and said, "I'll confess."  But it was too late.  The blade
>was already coming down.  Moral:  don't hatchet your counts until they
>Not to be confused with Roland, who at the Pass of Roncesvaux made the
>mistake of putting all his Basques in one exit.
>The American Dialect Society -

The American Dialect Society -

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