As I drove to the remote crossroads community of Hotshot, my brother watched the sunset in silence. Jason was dressed in old clothes, and he had a plastic Wal-Mart bag containing a few things he might need - toothbrush, clean underwear. He hunched inside his bulky camo jacket, looking straight ahead. His face was tense with the need to control his fear and his excitement. But Jason just nodded instead of snapping at me.

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Ranjiith asks: Why do we say something is as dead as a doornail? I might have been inclined, myself, to regard a coffin-nail as the deadest piece of ironmongery in the trade. You will therefore permit me to repeat, emphatically, that Marley was as dead as a door-nail.

Door nails were long used to strengthen the door. The person building or installing the door would hammer the nail all the way through the boards. It would be difficult to remove and even more difficult to use again elsewhere. Either way, the phrase itself is an old one.

The earliest record we have of it is from William Langland, who translated the French poem Guillaume de Palerne into English in For but ich haue bote of mi bale I am ded as dorenayl. Langsland is also responsible for the next-oldest record, dated in A translation from Old English reads: Faith without works is feebler than nothing, and dead as a doornail.

As you can see, contrary to popular belief, William Shakespeare did not coin the phrase. It was around long before Shakespeare was writing his plays and sonnets. The bard did, however, have a hand in making the phrase popular. It appears in Henry VI, Part 2, spoken by Jack Cade: Look on me well: I have eat no meat these five days; yet, come thou and thy five men, and if I do not leave you all as dead as a doornail, I pray God I may never eat grass more.

Like many other phrases used by Shakespeare, after the phrase was said onstage its popularity took off.


Charlaine Harris – Dead As A Doornail

Then Sam is shot in the leg and is therefore unable to run the bar. He asks Sookie to go to Fangtasia to ask Eric to lend him a bartender while he is out. Eric sends their new bartender, Charles Twining. Calvin Norris is also shot and seriously wounded, and Sookie learns that other shifters and were-animals are being shot throughout Louisiana. Calvin suspects Jason, based on the theory that Jason is angry at weres for turning him into a werepanther. Known for dispensing their own kind of justice, the real shooter needs to be found before the werepanthers turn on Jason. Colonel Flood, leader of the Long Tooth pack of Shreveport, is hit by a car and dies, so the pack needs a new leader.


The meaning and origin of the expression: As dead as a doornail


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