S. Worthen (owlfish) wrote,
S. Worthen

Weighty Matters

I'm wondering when and where the phrase "the weight of time" developed. Conceptually, it would make sense if it came from water clocks or hourglasses, but I have no proof of it. Bartlett's doesn't list it. Neither does Brewer's or the OED. A casual online search only reveals uses of it. It is particularly used in phrases such as "crumbling under the weight of time", which implies that the phrase has its origins in analogy, not technology.

On the bright side, searching through JSTOR for the phrase yielded the delightful article title, "The Couch as a Unit of Measurement." (Classical Philology, Vol. 29, No. 1, pp. 30-35, by Eugene S. McCartney. Discusses the perfectly serious topic of the classification of the sizes of Greek banqueting halls in antiquity.)

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