it’s ill waiting for dead men’s shoes


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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