Each week below at the Australian Writers’ Centre, we dissect and talk about, contort and retort, ask and also gasp at the English language and also all its rules, regulations and also ridiculousness. It’s a celebration of language, masquerading as a passive-aggressive whinge about words and also weirdness. This week, we’re a little tongue-tied…

Q: Hi AWC, I have actually a question.

You are watching: Tie me over or tide me over

A: Good, that’s your task.

Q: I obtained an email the other day wbelow the perboy provided the phrase “that have to tie you over”… Ummm, is this a thing?A: You’re thinking it should be “tide”?

Q: Well, yes actually.A: And you’d be correct.

Q: Phew. Okay, however then I’m reasoning WHY is it “tide me over”? That shows up to make extremely bit sense, and also maybe why some finish up assuming it’s “tie”. Maybe?A: It’s true that many type of might hear it as “tied you over” and think they are simply making use of the present tense as soon as saying “tie you over”.

Q: Oh great suggest.A: And perhaps bereason “tide you over” sounds equally ridiculous, they probably have actually much less trouble imagining “tie”. After all, we talk of exactly how to tie one idea to the other and so on.

Q: And just how to tie buttered toast to a cat.A: Ummm. Awkward silence.

Q: It was a scientific research experiment.A: Okay, whatever you say.

Q: Anymeans, so where DID this saying steustatiushistory.orge from? Can you help stem the tide of confusion?A: We certainly can. To “tide over” is an idiom that has actually its beginnings in the early on 1600s. Its existing interpretation often relates to money, food or stocks of some sort and also making a small allowance last till things are topped up again. So “here’s $50 to tide you over till payday” could be heard.

Q: Could you make it $100?A: What? It’s simply an instance.

Q: $80?A: $40 and that’s our finest offer.

Q: Great, thanks. I’ll pay it ago.A: No you won’t.

Q: Anymeans, so what did “tide over” expect originally?A: Well you’ll be pleased to know that it DID once have actually plenty to do via actual tides.

Q: I’m so pleased to recognize that.A: “Tiding over” was a term provided by sailors to mean floating through the tide prior to dropping anchor. A type of passive sailing as soon as no wind was present. It first showed up in print in 1627.

Q: And as soon as did it sail right into its more contemporary meaning?A: Over the steustatiushistory.orgplying with century and a fifty percent, it ended up being more about floating over obstacles on a swelling tide – as in “to cope with a short term problem”. By the early on 1800s, this meaning (steustatiushistory.orgparable to today) was establimelted.

Q: Okay, right here we go. The Oxford English Dictionary lists “tide over” as “To acquire over or surmount (a difficulty, time of stress and anxiety, etc) as if by increasing on the flowing tide, or by taking advantage of a favourable tide.”A: Yes, and also these days it’s much less around “tiding over difficulties” and also even more “tiding someone over”. A subtle change.

Q: Wait, didn’t “tide” as soon as expected “time”?A: Yes, lengthy before the 1fourth century – that’s why we have a word choose Yuletide and also a saying choose “Time and tide wait for no man”.

Q: Actually, we questioned Yuletide in one of our chats last Christmas.A: Good memory. So, in summary, it’s certainly “tide over” and also not “tie over”.

Q: Brilliant, many thanks for that. Now deserve to you assist me via this mistletoe? I simply want to tie it over the door below.

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A: Sorry, our hands are tied. You have forty bucks, go buy a step ladder.