Two Phrase Origins Queries.....

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boxtops | 16:42 Sat 07th Mar 2015 | Word Origins
7 Answers
Two we've heard today full pelt


as sweet as a nut

any ideas where these phrases originate? Google doesn't give much away!


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To pelt means to hurry or throw hard, so at full pelt means at full speed.

Sweet as a nut refers to the kernel, which is much sweeter than the shell.

Their origins are lost in the mists of time.
Synonym for 'Pelt' is 'Speed'

speed (esp in the phrase at full pelt)

I don't think it is any more complicated than that.
I found this on word wizard:
AT FULL PELT (1897 – OED has 1908) also means as fast as possible, at full speed, ‘all out,’ ‘flat out’ and is a synonym of ‘at full tilt.’ The verb PELT dates from the 16th century with the meaning to strike a person or thing vigourously and repeatedly with blows and possibly with missiles or to drive by force of blows. However, relatively recently (1831) the verb PELT took on the additional meaning of to move, run, etc., quickly, rapidly, or vigorously. And it would seem that vigourous and aggressive action in fighting is what connected the older ‘at full tilt’ with the newer ‘at full pelt.’
Question Author
Thanks - I just wondered if somehow the Pelt was associated way back when, with animal skins...
Probably a regional saying, but when it is raining extremely heavily we say, "It's pelting down".
Question Author
so would I, jackdaw!
As an ex Brummie they were quite normal sayings in my youth

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Two Phrase Origins Queries.....

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