|At sixes and sevens|
What does the phrase "At sixes and sevens" mean? I think it comes from Thornton Wilder's play "By the Skin of Our Teeth". |
Those interested in the history of London's Livery Companies might care to check|
http://www.englishorigins.com/liverycompanies.html from which the following quote is taken.
Here's another theory, taken from:|
A Dictionary of Modern Slang, Cant, and Vulgar Words By a London Antiquary.
"SIXES AND SEVENS, articles in confusion are said to be all SIXES and SEVENS. The Deity is mentioned in the Towneley Mysteries as He that "sett all on seven," i.e., set or appointed everything in seven days. A similar phrase at this early date implied confusion and disorder, and from these, Halliwell thinks, has been derived the phrase "to be at SIXES AND SEVENS." A Scotch correspondent, however, states that the phrase probably came from the workshop, and that amongst needle makers when the points and eyes are "heads and tails" ("heeds and thraws"), or in confusion, they are said to be SIXES AND SEVENS, because those numbers are the sizes most generally used, and in the course of manufacture have frequently to be distinguished."
Found at http://www.havemann.com/modern_slang.html