What Is the Origin of the Saying "To Make Money from Old Rope"?
To make money from old rope means to make money by selling something that has been used and ought to be worthless. This extends to profiting from knowledge or using skills that were learnt for another purpose. This term has a nautical history. In the days of sailing ships, sailors would cut damaged rope into smaller undamaged lengths and sell it when ashore. At sea, long ropes are required, but on land, shorter lengths were still useful and could be sold.
To make money from old rope comes from the practice of picking apart old ropes to create oakum (a fibrous material used with hot pitch for caulking seams in old-time sailing vessels). It was a chore performed by women and children in Victorian workhouses or by sailors when their ships were docked. The women and children never saw any money for their work. The oakum was sold by the workhouse authorities.
Test Your Knowledge of English Proverbs and Idioms
Here are three randomly selected questions from a larger exercise, which can be edited, printed to create an exercise worksheet, or sent via email to friends or students.
Download a Free Grammar Checker Download Grammarly's app to help with eliminating grammar errors and finding the right words.
(The Grammarly app works with webmail, social media, and texting apps as well as online forms and Microsoft Office documents like Word.)
"Smashing Grammar" (2019) Written by the founder of Grammar Monster, "Smashing Grammar" includes a glossary of grammar essentials (from apostrophes to zeugma) and a chapter on easily confused words (from affect/effect to whether/if). Each entry starts with a simple explanation and basic examples before moving to real-life, entertaining examples. All entries conclude with a section highlighting why the grammar point is relevant for a writer and top-level bullet points summarizing the entry. [More…]
"Grammar for Grown-ups" (2011) Vocational rather than academic, "Grammar for Grown-ups" is packed with real-life examples and keeps you engaged with a wealth of great quotations from Homer the Greek to Homer the Simpson. Straight talking and methodical, Craig Shrives draws on his years compiling Grammar Monster and as an army officer to present a comprehensive but light-hearted and easily digestible grammar reference guide. [More…]