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Re: [Czechlist] ... fizl, sefe

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  • Melvyn Clarke
    Hi all, A very warm welcome to all newcomers to the list. Well, Simon and Martin, you ve got me dead to rights - and no mistake. I did not quote any context.
    Message 1 of 5 , Apr 7, 2000
      Hi all,

      A very warm welcome to all newcomers to the list. Well, Simon and Martin,
      you've got me dead to rights - and no mistake. I did not quote any context.
      Here are a few leads. The first is from the excellent World Wide Words site,
      which explores some of the quirks and curiosities of the English language:
      http://www.quinion.com/words/

      Q. "In one of the Monty Python movies, as a woman falsely accused of being a
      witch is being carted off to her destiny she says under her breath, that's a
      fair cop! Is this the common British slang for being arrested?"

      A. It's a well-understood British expression, though it has been used so
      often in second-rate detective stories and police television series down the
      decades that it has long since ceased to be possible to use it seriously
      (the Monty Python team was playing on its clich�d status). It comes from
      the same root as the term cop for a policeman. This may be from the slang
      verb cop, meaning to seize, originally a dialect term of northern England
      that by the beginning of the nineteenth century was known throughout the
      country. This can be followed back through French caper to Latin capere, to
      seize or take, from which we also get our capture. (See another article for
      more on the noun form of cop for policeman.) So a cop in this sense was an
      example of a seizure or capture. It's a fair cop was what the essentially
      good-natured thief with a typically British sense of fair play was supposed
      to say as his collar was fingered by the fuzz, meaning that the arrest was
      reasonable and that he really had done what he was accused of doing. You
      will understand that this is, and always has been, an entirely fictitious
      view of the relationship between British criminals and the police.



      And this from a Monty Python FAQ page:


      Q: What does the witch say after she has been tried and found guilty by the
      logician in "Monty Python and the Holy Grail?"

      A: "It's a fair cop." The phrase is thieves cant for "you've got me dead to
      rights" which means that there has been no entrapment and the person was
      fairly caught in the act. The line has also been used in a few other Flying
      Circus sketches like "Dead Bishop on the Landing / The Church Police" and
      "Whizzo Chocolates."



      >PS In case you were wondering about my social status (whether I guv or am
      >guvved): I'm descended from Charlemagne, but my family has been going
      >downhill ever since ;-)

      I imagine old Charlemagne is quite a hard act to follow. Bit difficult to go
      uphill, really.

      Melvyn
      More guvving than guvved.

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