"eat lunch on" (& "dine out on")

Joel S. Berson Berson at ATT.NET
Sat Apr 24 01:02:06 UTC 2010

At 4/22/2010 12:19 PM, Mailbox wrote:
>On 4/20/10 8:08 PM, Joel S. Berson wrote:
> > Is there not an expression "eat lunch on" something, meaning
> > something like (I don't know quite how to put it) "greatly enjoy
> > ridiculing, finding the flaws in, etc."? Can I find it discussed somewhere?
> >
>There's a similar expression, "dine out on."
>The OED has this definition: "to dine out on: to be given
>hospitality at dinner partly or chiefly for the sake of one's
>conversation or knowledge about (a specific incident or topic,
>etc.)." A story you can "dine out on" is one that provides good
>dinner conversation. The OED's first citation is from 1923.
>But I've also known the expression to be used figuratively to mean
>to seize on (some weakness or flaw in an opponent, perhaps a juicy
>bit of gossip), and trade on it in some way.

Thanks -- this is the sense I had in mind.  But I think I've heard it
as "eat ... on", not just "dine out on".


>And I've heard it used in another sense: to take advantage of or
>build a reputation on (an experience, a piece of knowledge, etc.).
>For example, an old boss of mine used to say that former N.Y. Times
>writers and editors, having left the paper, forever after "dined out
>on" their affiliation--that is, used it to get plum jobs, writing
>assignments, book contracts, and so on.
>Pat O'Conner
>The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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

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