[Ads-l] Put it in the gray basket

Michael Quinion michael.quinion at WORLDWIDEWORDS.ORG
Thu Jun 9 08:32:05 UTC 2016

A reader asks about the expression "put it in the gray basket", which 
seems to mean putting aside those questions for which there is too 
little evidence to form a conclusion. An example: "As a physicist, I 
believe one must ask the right questions, have a large 'gray basket' for 
those questions about which there is too little solid information to 
reach a scientific conclusion." (/Flying Saucers and Science: A 
Scientist Investigates the Mysteries of Ufos/, by Stanton T. Friedman, 
2008.) The spelling is always "gray", suggesting it is of US provenance. 
The idiom is hardly common but appears most often in the context of 
UFOs, alien kidnappings and the like. The obvious potential link is with 
those mythical alien greys associated with such abduction claims. Can 
anyone supply pointers to the genesis of "gray basket"?

Michael Quinion, World Wide Words

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

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