shingles have fallen off the roof
hallo, WFW'ers.

'shingles have fallen off the roof'

What does this mean exactly? And more importantly, where did this come from?

Thanks in advance,

Generally, it means worn, degraded as through wear-and-tear or mere exposure over time. Literally, weathering can cause roofing shingles to fall from houses. This has two general classes of metaphorical extension, though related. One is simply to be aged and the other is to have accumulated a lengthy list of moral transgressions. In the former sense, it can refer to the hair on one's head as symbolizing shingles on the roof and hair-loss, as representing becoming less attractive with age being analogous to shingles falling. In this same vein, there are a number of other areas which "fall" on a human due to age. There's a sub-text of maintenance, however, relating the failure to repair a roof to failure to keep oneself in (physical) shape, and so a normative judgement. This reconciles it with the latter sense, in which one is assumed to have "sinned" (a sin being a fall from grace) more and more over time and so the elderly or merely worldly are seen to have had a number of shingles fall away.
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