Wordy Wednesday – “In a pickle”

And in the blink of an eye another Wordy Wednesday is upon us!

Searching for the next phrase coined by Shakespeare, I find myself in a pickle.  How will I ever decide which phrase written by Shakespeare to choose from?  Shakespeare had created so many popular phrases that are still in use even today…

Wait a minute…”I find myself in a pickle”.  In a pickle.  That’s it!

The phrase “In a pickle” means to be in a tight spot, or difficult position.

Although there are some early written records of “pickling” as a stew and as a preservative process for vegetables, Shakespeare was one of the first to have a figurative use for “In a pickle” in 1610 when he wrote The Tempest.

Alonso:

And Trinculo is reeling ripe: where should they Find this grand liquor that hath gilded ’em? How camest thou in this pickle?

Trinculo:

I have been in such a pickle since I saw you last that, I fear me, will never out of my bones:  I shall not fear fly-blowing.

But wherever did Shakespeare get the idea that being in a pickle can mean being in a difficult situation or position?  It may be because the earliest “pickles” were spicy sauces made from mashed stewed vegetables.  Being “in a pickle” alludes to a person being as mixed up as the stewed vegetables that made those early sauces.  And now we know!

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