measuring the drapes

Benjamin Zimmer bgzimmer at BABEL.LING.UPENN.EDU
Sat May 29 03:20:00 UTC 2010

I wrote about the history of "measuring the drapes/curtains" in 2008,
following up on ADS-L discussion:

The New York Times political blog "The Caucus" then picked it up:

--Ben Zimmer

On Fri, May 28, 2010 at 5:21 PM, victor steinbok <aardvark66 at> wrote:
> Steve Benen posted a few minutes ago "NRCC STOPS MEASURING THE DRAPES"
> at his blog. I was curious about the "measuring
> the drapes" metaphor, as I recall it being around most of the time
> since I developed interest in political speech. GB is not of much
> help--nearly all the references are from the 1992 campaign, with Bush
> people complaining--and Clinton people denying--that the Democrats are
> "measuring the drapes" for the Oval Office. One Newsweek reference
> from 1988 did pop up, but it was a snippet, so I can't even tell who
> the author is [].
> I thought someone might be interested in tracking this down and wanted
> to mention it briefly.
> I am not kidding about 1992--there are 6 hits for 1992, one for 1988,
> and one for 1960 mocking of Sound of Music (literally referring to the
> act of measuring the drapes). There is a bunch of other hits with
> other versions of measur[], but only one is metaphorical and that's
> also from 1992. This, indeed, covers the entire period of my interest,
> but I actually expected the expression to have been older. I have not
> tried searching newspapers.
> VS-)
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> The American Dialect Society -

The American Dialect Society -

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