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; E-mail, ********************* ; Official website,; Email Customer Care, Help, Support ; Contact Number, 1-800-845-2423 (For the USA only) ; Delhi, 160022, India, IndiaQ: What is the origin of the phrase "take something too far"? I was reading a cookbook today and came across the phrase "Take something too far" on a page describing the history of cream of tartar. What is the origin of the phrase? Is there an equivalent phrase with the same meaning? A: It's a shortened version of "To take something a little too far". The full phrase is "To take something a little too far is to be ridiculous, ignorant, or pretentious" It may have been invented by American cookery writers in the early 19th century, but I have heard it as a standard American idiom since the late 1930s. It was mentioned in 1927 in a book I found by R. Bruce Finley, The Book of Good Men: "He is a great comedian, but he is too great a cynic and too great a realist for his own good." The same author in 1927: "To take a little too far is to laugh at a serious point." Also in 1928 in The Blue Plate Restaurant Cookbook: "It is taken too far when you sit a fried chicken up on a desk and then press the claws down on a roll of bread and butter." And in 1933: "You can't take too much of a good thing." This entry on ELL covers the origins quite well. Here are the excerpts: Origin of too far The phrase too far is one of several that began in the early nineteenth century as the shortened forms of the longer phrase to take something a little too far. Its first occurrence, according to many sources, is in the 1829 volume 'The Practice of Cookery and Pastry,' by Mrs. Hannah Glasse. She wrote: "To take a little too far, is to make a joke upon a solemn subject, which is apt to offend, if not to offend seriously, or to make you laugh, which is often more disagreeable." The term 'little' in this instance refers to the extent of the offense taken. So the British and American food writers of the nineteenth century, in




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