In the posting running amethod with itself, I shelp that Erik’s suggestions for indistinguishable phrases seem to FIT THE BILL. Later, upon reflection, I realized that I really didn’t understand what BILL my comment was referring to. The just one I can think of was, as in let the ‘punishment fit the crime,’ ‘let the payment fit the bill.’ But that little bit of wisdom seemed hardly worth the development of an idiom in its honor. And a little voice then told me, ‘Get thee to a slang dictionary!’Tright here, I found that the expression actually began, and also is listed in the majority of sources as, FILL THE BILL, which, as my Google search revealed, didn’t stop ~ 1.5 million cluemuch less folks such as myself from making use of FIT THE BILL versus the lesser ~ 1 million that acquired it ‘right’ using FILL THE BILL. But acquire sufficient folks to say somepoint wrong long enough and it magically becomes the new ‘right’ or, as in this instance, the brand-new ‘likewise appropriate.’ FILL/FIT THE BILL: Be suitable/ideal for a specific purpose; be simply what is required; meet or exceed requirements; suffice._________________________________All the dictionaries I checked agreed on the fact that the beginning was theatrical via the BILL in question being the printed list of items on a theater program or advertisement. However before, the specific details of its etymology differ, with there being two colleges of thought:School #1: Fill out the entertainment bill via enough acts to develop a present of adequate length. This generally affiliated a star plus some lesser-known acts or perhaps just a series of acts through no star billing. AMERICAN HERITAGE DICTIONARY OF IDIOMSFILL THE BILL: Serve a certain objective well, as in I was afrassist tright here wasn’t sufficient chicken for everyone, however this casseduty will certainly fill the bill or Karen’s testimony just fills the bill, so we’re certain to acquire a conviction. This expression alludes to including less-known performers to a routine (or bill) in order to make a long sufficient entertainment.
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: 1) To suit ideally, to meet. 2) To occupational out, to be reliable.
(quotes from the Oxford English Dictionary and also archived sources)_____________________Ken G – January 5, 2009
Erik_KowalPosts: 8930Joined: Thu Dec 09, 2004 9:28 pmCountry: United KingdomFirst Name: ErikLast Name: KowalLocation: UK; lived many years in USA
Maybe it"s not so much a question of "fill the bill" being right and also "fit the bill" being wrong as of two comparable expressions through various emphases getting currency alongside each other.My thought is that if "fill the bill" implies "to fill the entertainment bill with sufficient acts to create a present of sufficient length", "fit the bill" might have come into being through the meaning "to encompass acts in the bill that are equivalent to the primary act or that complement it well".If my surmise is correct, it is possible that the two idioms thrived to be regarded as even more or less interchangeable bereason of the overlap that would often exist in the categories they explain, and/or as the connection in between the idioms and their original refeleas started to recede in the popular consciousness.Perhaps some better research study would clarify the validity of my guess. ;-)
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Wizard of OzPosts: 4392Joined: Sun Jan 02, 2005 5:14 amCountry: AustraliaFirst Name: DavidLocation: Newcastle, New South WalesContact:
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Re: fit the bill / fill the bill
Postby Wizard of Oz » Tue Jan 06, 2009 8:13 am
.. it is amazing to note that in Brewer"s DOP&F they have actually an each means bet of sorts on the etymology .. they indicate that ..
"Fill the bill, To. To be suitable; to be best for the purpose. The reference is probably to the size of lettering supplied for the name of an actor on a theatrical poster or bill. If one actor was lacking, the name of one more would certainly replace him and occupy the very same room.
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Ken GreenwaldPosts: 3811Joined: Mon Dec 13, 2004 8:25 amCountry: USAFirst Name: KenLast Name: GreenwaldLocation: Ft.Collins, Colorado, USA
Erik, What you have actually hypothesized appears entirely feasible. I had actually not thought of them as emerging in parallel because the earliest OED example of FILL THE BILL was from 1861 and also the earliest FIT THE BILL I had actually been able to come up through was from 1925. But I had not really looked that difficult for at an early stage FIT examples. In doing some extra browsing, I found a FIT THE BILL from 1890, which I have actually included to my over posting and I witnessed a couple of others that might have actually been from even previously, but I couldn"t provide their days with certainty. I think that the Brewer"s Thesaurus of Phrase & Fable comment in Wiz"s above posting, which includes the magic word perhaps, probably represents the most realistic assessment of the batch – the beginning of the two expressions seems to have been theatrical and also it is not well-known for particular specifically what FILL THE BILL or FIT THE BILL initially referred to, nor whether the 2 expressions developed separately, and also if they did, which came initially. So, as I pointed out previously, the jury is still out but more than likely knows also less than I assumed it did. (>;)___________________Ken – January 6, 2009
trolleyPosts: 2730Joined: Thu Dec 28, 2006 10:15 pmCountry: CanadaFirst Name: johnLast Name: larkinLocation: Victoria, B.C.
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Speaking of the jury still being out, tright here is a 3rd school of assumed. It might be a very tiny school, though, as I can not uncover any kind of corroboration on the internet. I remember hearing (or reading), somewright here, at some point that the bill in question was actually a legal record recognized as a "bill of particulars". This bill is a created statement, submitted by a plaintiff or a prosecutor at the request of a defendant, providing the defendant in-depth information concerning the clintends or charges made versus him or her. As a side-note, “fit the bill” could be a misheard marriage of “fill the bill" and “foot the bill”.