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Waxing on

October 12, 2016

In the Times today there was an interview with Chrissie Hynde by Will Hodgkinson. Near the beginning he said he was trying to get her to “wax on” about various subjects, and I thought, What are you talking about, Will Hodgkinson?

“Wax on”? What is that supposed to mean?

Well, we know, in fact, what he meant; and I think I know what happened. Hodgkinson must have had at the back of his mind the idiom to wax lyrical – and either didn’t know or temporarily forgot that to wax means to grow (as in the waxing and waning of the moon). Also at the back of his mind was the fact that there are lots of phrasal verbs which mean talking without restraint that use the preposition on: I’m thinking of go on, prattle on, witter on, ramble on etc. And Hodgkinson simply grafted the two together.

But I’ve waxed on about it for long enough now. Cheerio!

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2 Comments
  1. Mike W permalink

    In my opinion, there are a lot of people who wax on a little too much and should consider waning off a bit a more…

  2. Simon Carter permalink

    There’s the exchange from the Marx Brothers’ Horse Feathers:
    Receptionist – The Dean is furious. He’s waxing wroth.
    Groucho – Is Roth out there too? Tell him to wax the Dean for a while.

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