from shirtsleeves to shirtsleeves in three generations

Shirtsleeves denote the need to work hard for one’s living. This saying has been attributed to A. Carnegie (1835–1919), manufacturer and philanthropist, but is not found in his published writings. from clogs to clogs is only three generations expresses the same idea.

1907 N. M. BUTLER True & False Democracy ii. No artificial class distinctions can long prevail in a society like ours [in the US] of which it is truly said to be often but three generations ‘from shirt-sleeves to shirt-sleeves’.

1957 J. S. BRUNER in Psychological Review LXIV. 125 From shirtsleeves to shirtsleeves in three generations: we are back with the founding and founded content of the pre-Gestalt Gestalters.

1980 J. KRANTZ Princess Daisy xvii. What’s this? Shirtsleeves to shirtsleeves in three generations.


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  • from clogs to clogs is only three generations — Said to be a Lancashire proverb. Similar to from shirtsleeves to shirtsleeves in three generations. The clog, a shoe with a thick wooden sole, was commonly used by factory and other manual workers in the north of England. Cf. 1700 DRYDEN Wife of… …   Proverbs new dictionary

  • three — see three may keep a secret, if two of them are dead three removals are as bad as a fire three things are not to be trusted: a cow’s horn, a dog’s tooth, and a horse’s hoof bad things come in threes two boys are half a boy, and three boys are no… …   Proverbs new dictionary

  • Oxford Dictionary of Proverbs, Thematic Index — absence absence makes the heart grow fonder he who is absent is always in the wrong the best of friends must part blue are the hills that are far away distance lends enchantment to the view out of sight, out of mind …   Proverbs new dictionary

  • generation — see it takes three generations to make a gentleman from clogs to clogs is only three generations from shirtsleeves to shirtsleeves in three generations …   Proverbs new dictionary

  • shirtsleeve — see from shirtsleeves to shirtsleeves in three generations …   Proverbs new dictionary

  • Manhattan Project — This article is about the atomic bomb project. For other uses, see Manhattan Project (disambiguation). Manhattan District The Manhattan Project created the first nuclear bombs. The Trinity test …   Wikipedia

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