Saturday, March 23, 2013

cliché: the whole ball of wax

Meaning: everything inclusive (definition).

Example: The book contains everything you want to know about the topic, the whole ball of wax.

Origins: Uncertain, but first recorded in 9th edition of Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary, 1953. Associated with advertising usage. May also have origins in old English estate law as a way to assign inheritance. (Source.)

  • the whole block of beeswax
  • the whole wad of gum
  • the entire lump of coal
  • the bursting cache of trash
  • the rich roll of cash
  • the full load of laundry
  • entire wall with cracks, dents, and all

Discussion: With no clear origins on which to draw for inspiration, I’ll break it down into parts – “ball of wax”, “whole ball”, “ball”, “wax”, etc. 

All you ever might want to know about wax from Candle Cauldron and Rotblatt Sculpture.

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