Fwd: Give me some leadway!

Beverly Flanigan flanigan at OHIO.EDU
Sun May 21 19:41:30 UTC 2006

Ah, thank you, Michael and Arnold--my inclination has always been to use
"wicked" (Sunday School influence, maybe?), but lately I've switched to
"weary" thinking I was wrong all these years (though NOT under the
influence of Hirsch).  Of course, if I say "No rest for the wicked" these
days, no one understands why the wicked would be excessively busy, nor why
I would claim to be wicked.  I am, on the other hand, always weary.


At 02:08 PM 5/21/2006, you wrote:
>originally sent, by digital misadventure, only to michael quinion:
>Begin forwarded message:
>>From: "Arnold M. Zwicky" <zwicky at csli.stanford.edu>
>>Date: May 21, 2006 11:00:52 AM PDT
>>To: wordseditor at worldwidewords.org
>>Subject: Re: Give me some leadway!
>>On May 21, 2006, at 10:42 AM, Michael Quinion wrote:
>>>>Perhaps this isn't an eggcorn, but I often hear (and admittedly use)
>>>>"no rest for the wicked" for "no rest for the weary."  I'm not a
>>>>googler, but are both common?  And which was the original, if
>>>>that can
>>>>be determined?
>>>I'd argue for "wicked", because that was the version my old dad
>>>used about
>>>50 years ago in west London when he was dragged from his armchair
>>>by some
>>>need for immediate domestic action. The OED has its first example
>>>1935, but that's easily antedated by a century. The Huron
>>>Reflector of 2
>>>Oct. 1832 has: "We soon reached the jungle, dashed through a path
>>>that had
>>>been recently cleared with a cutlass, or bill-hook, for the twigs
>>>freshly shred, and in about ten minutes reached the high wood.-
>>>no rest for the wicked, although the row seemed lessening now."
>>>I've found an example of the other dated 1871, so that's pretty
>>>old, too.
>>"wicked" wins handily in raw google webhits, 418,000 to 190,000.
>>more important. however, is this from Isaiah 57:21 (no, i don't
>>have bible verses memorized; i found this via a google search):
>>... no peace, saith my God, to the wicked.
>>the Cambridge International Dictionary of Idioms gives the idiom as
>>"no peace/rest for the wicked" (though without the biblical
>>verse).  no listing for the "weary" version that i can find.
>>in general, "authorities" seem to be inclined to cite it according
>>to which version they find most natural, as here:
>>The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition.  2002.
>>No rest for the weary
>>You must keep persevering no matter how tired or overworked you are.
>>‡ A variant is “no rest for the wicked,” which implies that the
>>devil will not allow his followers to rest from their evil doings.
>>there's no scholarship here (shame on you, E.D. Hirsch et al.!),
>>just the implicit claim that the "weary" version is original, the
>>"wicked" version a variant.  in light of Isaiah i very much doubt
>>arnold (zwicky at csli.stanford.edu)
>The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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

More information about the Ads-l mailing list