Monday, February 25, 2008

A couple things have always confused me. Yes, I could look this stuff up on a series of toobs, but I'm a bum, so I come to you sexy people for answers.

Is it "all tolled" or "all told?"
"All tolled" is what I always thought the expression was-- that everything had been accounted for and metered.
"All told" would connote the final word had been spoken on a subject.

Which do you think? (I'll bet Breda knows.)

The other thing is an expression I've heard but never seen in print. Okay, yes, I'm lazy. "To damn one with __________ praise" -- meaning to give a backhanded compliment. Do you fill the blank with "faint" or "feigned?"

I'm just wondering.

Isn't it funny that you can hear an expression or a name of something all your life and you never question it?

My accent is fairly mid-western with the occasional southern twang and colloquialisms out the wazoo. However, I realized about 6 months ago that I have all my life pronounced "binoculars" with 2 r's. Yes. It's embarrassing to admit, but these days I stop myself an instant before I try to utter "ber-noc-u-lurs."

I'm not exaggerating. Yes. I'm just that fancy, lavishing my orations with unnecessary consonants and diphthongs not found in nature.

23 comments:

Squeaky Wheel said...

Oo! Oo! I know!

It's "all told", sometimes written as "all-told", but that depends on personal preference.

Also, "feigned" for the second one. To feign is to fake, and feigned praise is worse than no praise at all.

phlegmfatale said...

Thanks, Squeaky! Yeah, I thought it was "tolled," but thought I'd prolly been wrong all these years. I was hoping it was "feigned," though, and I said it that way once and someone decided to argue with me about it.
Neener neener neener!

Christina LMT said...

"all told" and "faint", not "feigned".
That's the point...it's sorta lackluster, like "this is the only positive thing I can say about this person, but it's better than nothing", so "faint".
As far as I know...


Adding extra consonants? Why not, you're special, Phlegmmy!
The words you so distinguish should feel honored, by gad!

Squeaky Wheel said...

Christina - It seems that the majority of teh intarwebs agrees with your interpretation. I like mine better, but that's probably personal preference. :-)

Christina LMT said...

Aw, shucks!

I've just read a lot of Regency romances, and for some reason (in Fictionland, anyway) people apparently used that phrase quite often in the early 1800s...;)

Turk Turon said...

I vote for "told" and "faint".

Breda said...

http://wsu.edu/~brians/errors/tolled.html

Friendly librarian, at your service!

Dr. StrangeGun said...

Can't fault you for your optics vernacular when the doc is still full of "liberry" and "ruual".

Squeaky Wheel said...

And I, on the other hand, read a lot of research literature, which is where a lot of the debate of the phrase comes from, so that's where MY exposure comes from...haha. Too funny. :-)

phlegmfatale said...

Christina - apparently the words are happy to come tumbling out of my mouth, so I guess they ARE honored!

squeaky - I'm glad to know it's not just obvious to everyone else and that I'm a numbskull for not knowing this!

christina - Romances, darling? I hardly knew ye! Get thee to the Pratchett section, toute-de-suite!

turk - Thanks! I like your name, by the way!

breda - YAYS! I knew you'd come through!

dr. strangegun - At least I'm in good company, then!

Ambulance Driver said...

Ah, etymology.

Personally, I've used "told" and "faint."

Then again, I was called out by a reader on my other blog over my use of the phrase "beckon call" rather than his preference, "beck and call."

Stubborn being my middle name, I refused to change it. *grin*

hoosierboy said...

faint and told. I have on accasion used the double rr for binoculars. I also lived for years on "Warshington Street" instead of Washington. I have refered to a motorsickel. I also used to live near a crick. I know better, but sometimes cannot help myself.

Christina LMT said...

Phlegm, I'm an equal opportunity reader!

brbiswrite said...

From my Dad's "Familiar Quotations" by John Bartlett 10th Edition "Damn with faint praise" comes from Alexander Pope who cribbed it from Phineas Fletcher.

TMI, perhaps, but, damn I like old reference books!

http://www.bartleby.com/81/4627.html For the book challenged I also found the reference at the above site.

BRB

HollyB said...

LaP, I've always thought it was told and faint. Now that you've brought it up...I like feigned MUCH better. It's not quite a homonym, but it does convey the meaning in a much more intense manner.

AD, I have always used "beck and call" myownself, but you just go right ahead and use the more colorful, if redundant, "beckon call" if you want to. Ain't nobody's business but yourn.

Hoosierboy, don't we ALL use some local flavor in our speech? I think it's what spices our language and keeps us connected to our heritage. I know PhDs who deliberately use regionalisms to maintain their individuality. They have their credentials hanging on the wall, so they don't have to prove anything to anybody.

I talk more like my grandparents NOW than I did when I was a schoolgirl. And I do it deliberately. I never want the expressions and terms they used to die from disuse.

Oberon said...

......i'm still stuck on.....wazoo.

phlegmfatale said...

ambulance driver - you just got cuter to me with that "beckon call" thing. I think such misunderstandings can be adorable - sort of the genetic code of your own particular brand of communication. Charming!

hoosierboy - Great, then I'm in good company! Glad to know I'm not the only one who's said 2 r's in Binoculars. I probably slip an occasional "warsh" in there, too.

christina - lovely AND fair-minded - what a gal!

brbiswrite - golly, I love learned and resourceful people - I'll check that out, and thank you very much, darlin'!

Hols -I'll always secretly prefer "feigned," come to that. Yes, "beckon call" is adorable, innit?
I totally agree about the endearing quality of using words and pronunciations of the old timers we've known. Lovely memories.

oberon - Hee!

Steelghost said...

If you'll accept my two cents, I've heard both faint and feigned praises, and understood them to have different meanings. Faint as in this is the only good thing to be found and feigned with the underhanded barb. I guess I'm the real odd ball in that I sort of thought it was all toiled. But when your an engineer sometimes English becomes a second language, with images or math being the first.

Buck said...

Ah... this discussion sounds a lot like mondegreens. Which I dearly LOVE.

Kristopher said...

hoosierboy: People native to Washington State pronounce that "r" as well.

We can tell who the Californicators are ... they forget the "r" in Warshington.

Bag Blog said...

I always thought it was feigned, but then I am usually wrong on such things being an Okie/Texan.

I once heard a preacher say not to take something for "granite." Then there was my friend who thought it was "a doggie dog world" instead of "dog eat dog."

alphonsedamoose said...

We people to the north of you say told and faint.

~Fathairybastard~ said...

I guess I always thought it was "All Told"... "All things being said", as it were.