Saturday, April 04, 2015


Keith from Acme was curious about an admonition that his grandmother used to make: keep your nose to the grindstone. With that, she encouraged Keith to stick to a task or a course of study even if it became tedious and boring. He asked if the original reference was to a mill where grain was ground into flour.

In fact, no. Rather, it referred to the thick stone disk that revolved on an axis and was used by a blacksmith to grind, sharpen, and polish tools and blades. The first instance that the Oxford English Dictionary gives is from 1533. It appeared in J. Frith’s Mirroure: “This Text holdeth their noses so hard to the grynde stone that it clean disfigureth their faces.”

At one point in history, it referred to someone maintaining a tyrannical hold on a helpless victim, but as Keith’s grandmother correctly implied, it now encourages individual self-control and discipline.

Listen to Mike’s program in real time every Tuesday morning, 9:10 - 10:00 a.m. EST, by going to and clicking on Listen Now. You’ll also find about a month’s worth of podcasts there under The Ron Jolly Show.


Post a Comment

<< Home

Dona Sheehan's prints