Give me some leadway!

Arnold M. Zwicky zwicky at CSLI.STANFORD.EDU
Mon May 22 16:46:31 UTC 2006

On May 22, 2006, at 1:11 AM, Michael Quinion wrote to me:

>> more important. however, is this from Isaiah 57:21 (no, i don't have
>> bible verses memorized; i found this via a google search):
> It surely must indeed be Biblical. Should have said that.

and this is, of course, only the beginning of the investigation.  the
question is when the biblical source gained currency as a cliche (and
was smoothed and improved, as so many quotations are).

the replacement of "peace" (in the sense also seen "peace and quiet"
and "leave s.o. in peace" and some other formulations) by "rest"
would make sense.

"no rest for the wicked" would probably have been puzzling to many
people, especially those who didn't fully appreciate its biblical
context.  "weary" would be a tempting (eggcornic) replacement,
especially given the noun "rest".

all supposition of course.

arnold (zwicky at

The American Dialect Society -

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