Strait-laced

Posted: December 28, 2011 in #blog12daysxmas, Random thoughts

Okay, so there’s one hour to go on this, the fourth day of Christmas. So I’m not too late for posting today’s entry – day 4 of the #blog12daysxmas challenge. Woohoo!

As mentioned in my last post, this was to be one about the concept “strait-laced” (I spelled it incorrectly, as I have since found out!)

A search among the weird and wonderful world of the web revealed (as expected) rather diverse opinions. However, a source that seemed rather trustworthy (in spite of sporting the name “Take Our Word For It”) stated this response to an email in general circulation (email at top, their response immediately following):

Ladies wore corsets which would lace up in the front. A tightly tied lace[d] garment, worn by a proper and dignified lady, gave birth to the term “straight laced.”

First, it is spelled strait-laced.  Second, its original meaning was “tightly laced” (regarding a bodice or similar piece of clothing), but it is not because proper ladies wore tightly-laced corsets that we have the term strait-laced meaning “prudish” today.  Instead, if the bodice were tightly laced, it would be somewhat rigid, especially if it contained stays.  This notion of rigidity was transferred to strait-laced when applied to human conduct, and eventually the “rigid” sense changed to “prudish”.  The term (with these meanings) first appears in the mid-16th century.

Any woman could wear a strait-laced bodice, not just proper or dignified ladies.

So there you go. Nothing whatsoever to do with my sneakers, and / or my father’s way of teaching me to tie them. Huh!

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