Pillar to post.

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Allen Crisp | 16:57 Thu 22nd Sep 2005 | Phrases & Sayings
4 Answers
At work the other day, someone described himself as having been "pushed from pillar to post", meaning he had been given the runaround a bit. It's an expression I haven't heard for some time, and I've never known what are the pillar and post in question. Were they any particular pillar and post? Any ideas?


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i wonder if its to do with pinball machines?

though I expect its more likely to do with some old greek colluseum or something?

just a thought : )

According to Brewer's Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, "the phrase was originally from post to pillar and comes from the old tennis courts in allusion to the banging about of the balls"

In German "von Pontius nach Pilatus." has the same general meaning as in English... to be sent from one place to another without achieving much.  Seems to have an early reference in  ca1420 Lydg. Assembly of Gods 1147 Thus fro poost to pylour he was made to daunce�.

There are also references, as SeaJay suggests tor the very early game of court tennis...court tennis was certainly played in the thirteenth century and perhaps earlier.prior to the fifteenth century. One feature of the game lay in some form of volley which, at the time, was called 'from post to pillar,' apparently referring to a post that supported the net (though a rope was used in those days, rather than a net).the name of the volley passed into a common saying - always 'from post to pillar' until the sixteenth century when, the original allusion having been forgotten, it gradually became reversed to the present usage, 'from pillar to post.

Finally, Mordock & Korash's "Word Origins" says From Pillar to Post originated with the Puritans when they placed wrongdoers first in the pillory then the whipping post. So... apparently you can take your pick...

The correct answer is the third answer clanad has suggested.

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Pillar to post.

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