Q From Donna Marie Watson, New Jersey: In a magazine article about Australia, the term tub thumping was used. My students asked me what it meant, and I couldn’t figure it out. Any idea?
A Many americans are more familiar with Bible-thumping, which has much the same sense. The phrase originally referred to a preacher of a type still familiar: one who does so in an aggressive way and who bangs on the pulpit to give emphasis. At the time the expression was first recorded — in the Cromwellian period of English history, roughly the 1650s — the allusion was to nonconformist preachers. There may be a connection here with the literal tub-thumping of an outdoor orator using an inverted tub as an informal lectern, or perhaps the practice of converting wash-tubs into improvised drums during processions or demonstrations.
Search World Wide Words
Recently added or updated
Tomfoolery; Fair to middling; So help me Hannah; Joe Soap; Nimrod; Isabelline; No soap; Umquhile; Steal one’s thunder; Katy bar the door; Simoleon; Dope; Lord love a duck; Yarely; Upset the apple cart; Snooter; Fard; By hook or by crook; Polish off; Loggerhead; Lame duck; But and ben; Logomaniac; Type louse; Corium; Lie Doggo; Fewmet; Dingbat; Kibosh; Caucus; Oryzivorous.
Support World Wide Words!
Donate via PayPal. Select your currency from the list and click Donate.