Author Topic: to pay through the nose  (Read 3198 times)

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Offline Rezia

  • Posts: 5905
  • Gender: Female
« on: January 21, 2006, 18:11 »
Quote from: dictionary.com
pay through the nose

Pay an excessive amount for something, as in We paid through the nose for that vacation. The origin of this term has been lost. Possibly it alludes to the Danish nose tax, imposed in Ireland in the 9th century, whereby delinquent taxpayers were punished by having their noses slit. [Second half of 1600s]

The idiom in question has obviously lost its motivation. The history of the expression given in the above quotation is quite vague. The thing which I can't get why there is this preposition through. If people were punished for not paying the tax by a slit nose what is the reason to use preposition "through"? The whole phrase denotes to pay excessively and taking into the consideration the origin of the phrase, it should imply to pay the tax in order to save one's nose from slitting. Then it should be something like to pay for the nose  :).

"Сон налягає. Кладе м'якеньку лапу на очі і на лице і шепче до вуха: спи..." (Коцюбинський)

"Ахаль çеç-им шурă юрĕ çав каç ÿкрĕ çĕр çине?" (чăваш юрри)

"Гэта не без гэтага" (з аднаго беларускага рамана)

"ნახევარი პური, ნახევარი ხარჩო"

 

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«Сто одёжек, все без застёжек» — что это?: