thick on the subject

James Harbeck jharbeck at SYMPATICO.CA
Mon Jun 16 03:57:28 UTC 2008

"Thick," particularly in British English (but evidently also in
Maureen Dowd's dialect), means "stupid" ("Are you thick?!") -- from
"thick-headed," I believe. To say someone's "thick on the subject"
thus means that when it comes to the topic at hand they are
noticeably ignorant and perhaps difficult to instruct. So, as I read
it, it's really the one-word idiom "thick" plus the reasonably common
phrase "on the subject" (= about the subject, as regards to the
topic, etc.).

James Harbeck.

The American Dialect Society -

More information about the Ads-l mailing list