"When you're in a hole . . ."

Charles Doyle cdoyle at UGA.EDU
Fri Apr 23 13:17:29 UTC 2010

In answer to Victor's query, here is what we have in the file of modern proverbs:

<< When you are in a hole, stop digging.  1981  Washington Post 16 Nov.  "At Rochester and in junior hockey (at Saskatoon), we had some tough times. But when you're in a hole, don't dig it deeper."  1983  Financial Times 7 Jan.:  "Where Europe goes from here clearly depends chiefly upon whether . . . there is a move towards the opposite view, well summarised recently by Mr Kenneth Mayland, an economist with the First Pennsylvania Bank: 'The first rule of holes; when you're in one, stop digging.'"  1984  New York Times 17 Feb.:  "The [Reagan] administration will do well to remember an old maxim: If you find yourself in a hole, for heaven's sake, stop digging."  1984  New York Times 11 Sep.:  "There is a Law of Holes that says, when you are in one, stop digging. That is a law Congress finds it almost impossible to observe."   ODP 150; Doyle (2001) 462-63.  In British publications, the "Law of Holes" is often referred to as "Healey's Law," after the statesman Denis Healey, a po!
 pularizer of the expression. >>


---- Original message ----
>Date: Fri, 23 Apr 2010 05:43:29 -0400
>From: American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU> (on behalf of Victor Steinbok <aardvark66 at GMAIL.COM>)
>Subject: Re: fuster-cluck  >>

>> If you're keeping score:
>> 1. barter/bargain
>> 2. fuster-cluck-cluck-cluck [buck fush]
>> 3. macaca moment
>> 4. campaign malpractice
>> 5. the drops have become a tsunami
>> 6. When you are in a hole, the cardinal rule is – stop digging.
>> [antedating candidate--how old is this, exactly?]
>> VS-)

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