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

Jonathan Lighter wuxxmupp2000 at GMAIL.COM
Sat Jul 23 15:34:12 UTC 2016

I've heard this *solely* in reference (usually ironic: "thinks he is
the...") to sturdy, clean-cut types.

Haven't heard it in many years.


On Fri, Jul 22, 2016 at 12:14 PM, George Thompson
<george.thompson at nyu.edu> wrote:
> 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

"If the truth is half as bad as I think it is, you can't handle the truth."

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

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