Wednesday, January 18, 2017


Sorry, the day went to hell in a handbasket, so I'm not writing anything today.

Although, as I wrote that, I wondered about the origin of the phrase "going to hell in a handbasket", so here's a little something after all:
One theory on the origin of the phrase is that derives from the use of handbaskets in the guillotining method of capital punishment...

The first version of 'in a handbasket' in print does in fact relate to an imaginary decapitated head. In Samuel Sewall's Diary, 1714, we find:

"A committee brought in something about Piscataqua. Govr said he would give his head in a Handbasket as soon as he would pass it."

Sewall was born in England but emigrated to America when he was nine, and this citation reinforces the widely held opinion that the phrase is of US origin. That is almost certainly the case and, even now, 'hell in a handbasket' isn't often used outside the USA. 

More here.

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