Quote: everybody talks about the weather (1897) (antedating attrib Charles Dudley Warner 1901, attrib Mark Twain 1915)

Victor Steinbok aardvark66 at GMAIL.COM
Mon Jan 25 23:13:29 UTC 2010

Give how different the phrasing is from the other quotes, this is a
great find!

There is an interesting quality about this expression and ones like it.
"Talking about the weather" was a euphemism for empty conversation long
before this appeared--and no justification needed to be made that
"nothing is done about it". There are even *recommendations* to talk
about the weather if you have nothing to say and also
observations/recommendations that talking about the weather is a
conversation starter. Some of these go back at least to the
1840s--although this might have been a quintessentially British custom,
at one point, especially if involved complaining. ;-)

I am forgoing the links--if anyone is interested, I will share them.


On 1/25/2010 5:44 PM, Garson O'Toole wrote:
> The quote below suggests that Charles Dudley Warner was communicating
> the core idea of the weather quote before 1897.
> Citation: 1884 November 18, Proceedings of the Chamber of Commerce of
> the State of New York, Twenty Seventh Annual Report.
> As to the latter I think your action reminded me of the observation of
> my old friend and partner, DUDLEY WARNER, concerning New England
> weather - it is a matter about which a great deal is said, but very
> little done.
> http://books.google.com/books?id=SQWGAAAAIAAJ&q=Dudley+Warner#v=snippet&q=Dudley%20Warner&f=false
> Garson

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

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