Lying Jade

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LottieAnne | 23:17 Wed 30th Jan 2008 | Phrases & Sayings
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Does anyone know the meaning or origin of the above phrase which was given as the answer to a crossword clue?


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One for Quizmonster, who's a wiz at sayings. However, the Shorter Oxford English Dictionary says that 'jade' means 'a woman, especially a headstrong or disreputable one; a tart, a hussy [archaic or jocular]' and dates from the mid C16
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Thank you. The original clue was " It's only a rumour, we're told" (5,4) So I am still not sure how that relates to the answer. I'll probably never know!
"Rumour is a lying jade" is recorded in Strauss's Dictionary of European Proverbs; in addition, the character d'Aguilera in Rider Haggard's Fair Margaret says, "What a lying jade is rumour."
So there are a couple of direct connections. At the moment however, I can't really see any particularly 'crosswordish' connection. Perhaps it's just one of these direct-style clues? (It's still early!)
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Thank you. I did not know either of those two references. The crossword was originally printed in the Times in January 1959 but has recently reappeared in a book which contains one crossword from each year since publication of them began. The nature of clues has undergone quite a change since then.
Ah! The date probably explains it, Lottie. Back then, crossword clues often just depended on general knowledge or direct knowledge about literature etc...unlike today's cryptic approach. In other words, one often either just knew or didn't know the answer, rather than being able to work it out.
i prob look daft but the story in paper last week said the rumor about jade goody and an arab prince was a lie.
Yes, Jade Goody has an unfortunate first name, even if the usage is 'archaic or jocular' as the OED says!
"Rumour is a lying jade" is an old expression for "you should take it with a pinch of salt". I've always thought that "lying jade" refers to the many colours that the stone can be making it difficult to know whether you have a true jade or not.
Mustafa, 'jade', in the sense outlined by Fred above and applicable here, was originally a name given to an inferior horse. There was a belief that it may have come from the Icelandic word 'jalda', meaning a mare, though there is no direct proof of that. It has existed in English since the 1300s.
'Jade', the name of the precious stone, comes from Italian for 'the small ribs' and is connected to the Greek for 'kidney'. It would seem, therefore, to have more to do with shape than colour. It did not reach our shores until two centuries later.
"Rumour is a lying old mare" is basically the meaning rather than a multi-coloured thing..
Hello, Quiz. Phew, sorting out the answers is sometimes a lot more time consuming than answering the question !! I've come across this several times - if someone tells you some gossip and ends "But remember, rumour is a lying jade" its the same as saying "It could be all my eye and Betty Martin" or "take it with a pinch of salt". It stems from the fact that because of the many colours and shapes of jade it is devlish difficult to tell a true one from false.
But that was my point, Mustafa...'jade' in this saying comes from the knackered old horse/nasty old woman version and not from the mineral version of the word. Consider the two words' histories...
"Be blithe though thou ride upon a jade" appears in Chaucer's Canterbury Tales from 1387...clearly, an inferior horse.
"Such a jade she is and curst a quean
She would out-scold the devil's dame, I ween."
This appeared in a poem dated 1560. Fortune, error, nature, poverty etc were also all called 'a jade' by one writer or another. Clearly, in the two centuries since Chaucer, the word had become attached to a wicked, mischievous, conniving woman.
'Rumour' is just another example. In exactly the same way as "old wives' tales" were not to be trusted or believed, nor were rumours spread by nasty old women.
'Jade', the mineral, did not appear until later in English and 'jade', the colour, not until the 1920s!

But what the hey! I'll leave it at that. Cheers
Best wishes, Q.

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