Date: Thu, 14 Dec 1995 11:43:09 CDT
From: Randy Roberts robertsr[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]EXT.MISSOURI.EDU
Subject: Re: Eats its head off
The following comes from the citations collected by Peter Tamony.
"The hard school of experience is the only one in which some people
will learn . . . . they will discover when they have kept the produce
four or five years and when after it has 'eaten its head off' several
times . . . . that a stallion of inferior breeding is the most
expensive animal a breeder can use."
Breeder and Sportsman, San Francisco, 16 November 1889, XV, 20,
Laws Relating to Innkeepers. "By the custom of London and Exeter,
'when a horse eats out the price of his head,' namely, when the cost
of keep exceeds value, the host may have him as his own."
Encyclopedia Britannica, 11th edition, volume 14, page 576D.
Hope this helps.
University of Missouri-Columbia
robertsr[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]ext.missouri.edu
______________________________ Reply Separator _________________________________
Subject: Eats its head off
Author: American Dialect Society ADS-L[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]uga.cc.uga.edu at internet-ext
Date: 12/14/95 10:25 AM
A friend of mine asked if anyone knows of the origin of the
expression "Eats its head off." His reference comes from the
movie Black Beauty. Of course, we also say, "eating your head off."
"Talk your head off" seems a little different.
I suspect there might be some interesting story behind this expression.
Terry Lynn Irons t.irons[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]morehead-st.edu
Voice Mail: (606) 783-5164
Snail Mail: UPO 604 Morehead, KY 40351