27 May 2010

AWAY WITH .......

Inspired by KISSED BY AN ANGEL who, in a recent post, was telling us all that that week she had (and I quote) .......
"been away with the .....

..... fairies."

An expression I am of course familiar with but much more commonly used by my nana (who else) was the idiom 'away with the mixer'. Both meaning pretty much the same thing but just where did they originate? I'm now a women on a mission to find out.


Meaning : Not facing reality; in a dreamworld.
Origin : This phrase has its basis in the Scots/Irish Gaelic tradition of belief in a set of folk myths, the cartoon version of which is a belief in the existence of 'the little people'.
In a mythology that compares with the current fad for stories of abduction by aliens, Irish folklore had the alien role played by the Sidhe, a dominant, supernatural clan of fairies. The stories involved the Sidhe appearing from some hidden place, either their underground lair or from an invisible world, equivalent to contemporary science's notion of a parallel dimension, and spiriting people away. In another link to current scientific understanding of relativity, the stories usually involved the victim returning after what seemed like a few hours only to find that many years had passed in the world of humans.
The everyday belief in a nether world populated by fairies, elves, pixies, leprechauns, goblins and the like was commonplace in mediaeval Europe, as was the belief in their interaction with the real world. A letter to the Scottish poet William Drummond, dated October 1636, contained the following:
"As for the Fairy Queen, of whom you wrote to me, her Apparitions of late have bewitched so many, that I find sundry ready to dance with the fairies."
The belief in people being taken away by the fairies was very well-established by the time that the phrase 'away with the fairies' first came to be used - which isn't until the 20th century. This earliest example of the expression that I can find in print is in the New Zealand newspaper The Otautau Standard and Wallace County Chronicle, May 1909. This retells a story from Ireland, in which a Michael Coyne attempts to convince onlookers that he hadn't murdered his rival, James Bailey:
[Coyne] "Don't mind your son; that is not him you see there." Bridget Bailey understood that he meant that her brother was away with the fairies.
The phrase didn't begin to be used in its current figurative sense until the late 20th century. This item from The Washington Post, June 1987, is typical of the examples of the phrase that are commonly found from the 1980s onward:
"Still away with the fairies, the fey and gentle Incredible String Band epitomised the hippie ideals of the Sixties." - The Phrase Finder.


As I said of similar meaning:-

"Not quite in touch with reality, in a dreamy state". (Merseyside British use) - Urban Dictionary.

And whilst blogging about, I came across this on Husband dearest's site. (Do I have a bone to pick* with him about it? You bet I do).

A while ago he had the nerve, the cheek, the sheer audacity to post a joke on his site. Something I had to stop straight away - after all jokes are MY thing.

Anyway, it seems he's been at it again. No, not with a joke but with something else - this time he was posting about one of those weird (I'm not going to add wonderful) products that I can't resist posting about on Pen And Paper. Go visit him to learn all about the LAPTOPBURKA.


Bone to pick," dates back to the 16th century, simply refers to a dog chewing endlessly on, and "picking clean" a large bone. A "bone to pick" is thus a subject or issue that is expected to require considerable discussion or argument. A similar phrase, "bone of contention," meaning an issue over which two people argue, also dates back to the 1500s and refers, appropriately, to two dogs fighting over an especially choice bone.

It has a slightly different meaning in Ireland. 'I have a bone to pick with you' means 'I believe you have done me wrong and I want to know why.'

In the States the meaning is the same. A 'bone to pick' is an issue to be discussed and resolved between individuals. - Answerbag.


Vivienne said...

Where do you find these bits of information?

I love the phrase 'away with the fairies.' I was often described in this way as a child.

Nina said...

I love fairies, okay I do not believe them, yeah I swear, but I still like books about them. Love it. :)

Traci said...

I love this. I am always interested in how phrases come to be. I definitely use "bone to pick" as "you better sit down because you have seriously messed up and I am going to tell you about it!" haha

I love "away with the fairies". I am pretty sure that my brain is there.

Sara said...

I, too, like the expression of "away with the fairies."

I like to think had we stayed in England, someone would have eventually described me this way.

Dare to dream...

Betty Manousos:cutand-dry.blogspot.com said...

I do love fairies, I don't believe in them either.
but I love reading books about them.
And I also have some fairy items in my bedroom!
Hope you enjoy the rest of your day1
B xx

Loved your interesting comments on my blog. You're so wise! I really appreciate them!

Tracie said...

I've never heard 'away with the fairies' before. That's how I was as a child.

Kelly said...

I'm not sure I've ever heard those first two expressions. My sister is a big fairy lover so I'll have to share that with her.

Now "a bone to pick" is one I'm quite familiar with. Kind of like "an axe to grind". (there's another one for you to look up!)

Oddyoddyo13 said...

I love that when you're curious about something, you strive to know everything about it. :)

Jenners said...

I just love the idea of being "away with the fairies." Sounds much better than "spacing out."

Kissed by an Angel said...

To be fair, I feel like I am living with the fairies, let alone away with them!! I'm still not back!! So much going on!!!