More recombinant idioms

The following bit from an old Dr Who episode popped into my head this morning:

Seventh Doctor: Time and tide melt the snowman.

Mel: Doctor, "wait for *no* man."

Doctor: So who's waiting?

I never actually saw the episode, but I liked the quote, though it may not be precisely accurate. So I went to check on the phrasing, and ended up finding some other Seventh Doctor-isms; I particularly liked “Fools rush in where horses fear to drink.”

Elliott has been calling this sort of thing a “recombinant idiom” for a long time. I only just learned, from the Wikipedia article about the Seventh Doctor, that they're also known as “dundrearyisms,” after a character from the play Our American Cousin, which I've never seen nor read.

While I'm here, here are a couple from Elliott from a long time ago that I never got around to posting.

The administration has the upper ground.

—Professor emeritus Nathan Glazer, in a 2003 New York Times article


That way, the public will be more secure that we're not trying to pull a fast one over their eyes.

—Moses Carey of the Orange County (NC) Board of County Commissioners, in a 2003 Chapel Hill News article


To say that the world is trying to destroy “the romance of depression,” and by doing so end the future of literature and art, is a load of crock.

—Liz Kuzemski of Greenfield, MA, in a letter to the editor of the Valley Advocate, Feb. 17-23, 2000.

And finally:

Bush's visit to the vehemently anti-Catholic Jones college is a wedge big enough to drive a candidacy through.

Newsweek, March 13, 2000, p. 34

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