- it’s ill waiting for dead men’s shoes
- The earlier form of the proverb, exemplified in quots. c 1549 and 1721, is no longer found. The metaphorical phrase to wait for dead men’s shoes is also illustrated below.
1530 J. PALSGRAVE L’éclaircissement de la Langue Française 306v Thou lokest after deed mens shoes.
c 1549 J. HEYWOOD Dialogue of Proverbs I. xi. C5 Who waitth for dead men shoen, shal go long barfote.
1721 J. KELLY Scottish Proverbs 148 He goes long bare Foot that wears dead Mens Shoon. Spoken to them who expect to be some Man’s Heir, to get his Place, or Wife, if he should dye.
1758 A. MURPHY Upholsterer I. ii. You have very good pretensions; but then its waiting for dead Men’s Shoes.
1815 SCOTT Guy Mannering II. xvi. That’s but sma’ gear, puir thing; she had a sair time o’t with the auld leddy. But it’s ill waiting for dead folk’s shoon.
1912 E. V. LUCAS London Lavender iv. I pointed out that I was executor to no fewer than three persons... ‘It’s ill waiting for dead men’s shoes,’ Naomi quoted.
1963 C. BUSH Case of Heavenly Twin xvi. Perhaps I was right when I suggested he told Staffer he was waiting for a dead man’s shoes.
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dead — see let the dead bury the dead dead men don’t bite dead men tell no tales blessed are the dead that the rain rains on the only good Indian is a dead Indian it’s ill waiting for dead men’s shoes … Proverbs new dictionary
ill — see it’s an ill bird that fouls its own nest ill gotten goods never thrive he that has an ill name is half hanged it’s ill waiting for dead men’s shoes ill weeds grow apace it’s an ill wind that blows nobody a … Proverbs new dictionary
Oxford Dictionary of Proverbs, Thematic Index — absence absence makes the heart grow fonder he who is absent is always in the wrong the best of friends must part blue are the hills that are far away distance lends enchantment to the view out of sight, out of mind … Proverbs new dictionary
shoe — see if the shoe fits, wear it it’s ill waiting for dead men’s shoes for want of a nail the shoe was lost; for want of a shoe the horse was lost; and for want of a horse the man was lost … Proverbs new dictionary
wait — see all things come to those who wait time and tide wait for no man it’s ill waiting for dead men’s shoes … Proverbs new dictionary
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