Robert Brindley

Monday, April 02, 2007

The Meaning Of Phrases (5)

To Be Given The Sack

Meaning: to lose your job.

This phrase dates back to the days when craftsmen, tradesmen & labourers would travel from place to place to get work. Sometimes they would only get employment for a few days or find themselves working on the same project for years.
They would carry their tools around with them in a sack, which would be given to their employer for safe keeping until their employment came to an end.
Therefore, to be 'given the sack', was to be given the means to carry their tools to another place of work.

Not to be confused with the saying to be ‘Fired’
Being ‘Fired’ was when the tradesman had been caught stealing or breaking the rules. His tools would be burned to ensure he would be unable to work anywhere else……………..Harsh!!!!


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