At Sixes and Sevens

sixessevens“I’m so frustrated with Luca; we’ve been at sixes and sevens all day.” Why do we not use this phrase in the U.S.? It’s wonderful. It’s evocative (though I’m not sure of exactly what). I love this phrase. I probably first learned it while reading an English or Irish novel. And I’ve come across it many times over the years. Most recently I read it in a Maeve Binchy story. Being at sixes and sevens is to be in a state of confusion or a disagreement between two parties. Its derivation is not clear. One idea is that it comes from the 14th century, and was inspired by a game of dice. Another idea is that it’s “a corruption of ‘cinque and six’, French for the numerals five and six.”  I found that and much more on this UK Phrases site. And if you’re ever in Australia, you might like to visit this classy bar and restaurant, named Sixes & Sevens.

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One thought on “At Sixes and Sevens

  1. As soon as I saw this Bon Mot, I thought of Cockney rhyming slang and ‘My Fair Lady.’ And, after ‘googling’ cockney rhyming slang…there it was!…good one!

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