Lord love a duck
NicoleBirdeau
I'm doing a presentation on phrase origins and folk etymology. Does anyone have any info on the following phrases?
Lord love a duck
Straight from the horse's mouth
Bring home the bacon
Lewis Joplin II
Bring home the bacon - There are two schools of thought on this phrase. "An English custom initiated in 1111 and lasting until late in the 18th century provided that any married couple who swore that they hadn't quarreled for over a year, or had not at any time wished themselves 'single again' - and could prove this to the satisfaction of a mock jury sometimes composed of six bachelors and six maidens - was entitled to the Dunmow Flitch, a side of bacon awarded at the church of Dunmow in Essex County. The expression to 'bring home the bacon,' 'to win the price,' isn't recorded until 1925, but bacon was used as a word for 'prize' centuries before and scholars believe that the Dunmow Flitch is responsible for the usage. This custom, along with the popular American one of awarding the pig to the winner of 'greased-pig' events at county fairs, gives us the phrase, which means to support a family by working." From "Encyclopedia of Word and Phrase Origins" by Robert Hendrickson (Facts on File, New York, 1997).

Another reference acknowledges the English custom but states, "It is more likely that the expression has come from the rural American sport at country fairs of catching a greased pig. The lucky winner in this slippery contest is awarded the pig that he has caught; thus, literally, he brings home the bacon..." From "A Hog on Ice" by Charles Earle Funk (1948, Harper & Row). Mr. Funk kind of loses me when he goes on to say: "But an old dictionary in my possession, the third edition of Nathan Bailey's dictionary of 1720..." defines "bacon" as "the Prize, of whatever kind which Robbers make in their Enterprises.' This would indicate that our present expression would at least have been understood, if it did not originate, in the eighteenth century..."

Lewis Joplin II
Straight from the horse's mouth - "By examining a horse's teeth an expert can make a good estimation of its age; a horse's first permanent teeth, for example, don't appear until it is about two and a half years old. So despite what any crooked horse trader might have wished them to believe, informed horsemen in England stood little chance of being cheated about a horse's age - they had it on good authority, 'straight from the horse's mouth.' The expression came into racetrack use in about 1830 and was part of everyday speech by 1900." From "Encyclopedia of Word and Phrase Origins" by Robert Hendrickson (Facts on File, New York, 1997).
Lewis Joplin II
Lord love a duck - There's some information available by searching "duck" at http://www.shu.ac.uk/web-admin/phrases/bulletin_board/7/ including: "There was a 1966 or so film starring Roddy McDowall, Tuesday Weld, Lola Albright, Ruth Gordon and Harvey Korman named "Lord Love A Duck", a way out off-beat comedy that lampooned the 60s Southern California teen culture."
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