[Ads-l] the answer to a maiden's prayer

George Thompson george.thompson at NYU.EDU
Fri Jul 22 16:14:54 UTC 2016

This has been one of my favorite phrases since time out of mind.  I dare
say I first heard it from my father, but don't recall.  Generally, I use it
in a negative fashion, such as "Hillary isn't the answer to a maiden's
prayer, but. . . ."  Occasionally, positively -- for instance, when in
college, to some one entering unexpectedly with a six-pack of beer "You're
the answer to a maiden's prayer!".  (Nowadays, more likely to someone
unexpectedly entering with a *bottle of decent wine -- the * indicates
that, sadly, the circumstance now rarely occurs.)

I suppose that the expression originated in 19th C melodramas, when the
lecherous villain has the unfortunate girl at his mercy, and is about to do
what lecherous villains do, but the sturdy, clean-cut young male lead
bursts in and beats the bejesus out of the villain, and the girl exclaims,
"O, sir, you are the answer to a maiden's prayer!).

Despite the proud boast in my signature, I have checked the Yale Book of
Quotations, AND the Quoteinvestigator, AND The Big Apple.


George A. Thompson
The Guy Who Still Looks Stuff Up in Books.
Author of A Documentary History of "The African Theatre", Northwestern
Univ. Pr., 1998..

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

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