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Idiom: As black as Newgate's knocker


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Idiom: As black as Newgate's knocker #1 (permalink) Mon Jun 23, 2008 1:54 am   Idiom: As black as Newgate's knocker
 

Hi,

Could I suppose "Newgate's knocker" in "As black as Newgate's knocker" is or was very black? Is this idiom still in circulation, say, in UK?

Thank you!

Haihao
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Idiom: As black as Newgate's knocker #2 (permalink) Mon Jun 23, 2008 3:59 am   Idiom: As black as Newgate's knocker
 

I've never heard it in my life, although of course I understand it. I'd just have no idea what Newgate's knocker is supposed to be.

An explanation of the term is here:
http://www.phrases.org.uk/meanings/36500.html
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Idiom: As black as Newgate's knocker #3 (permalink) Mon Jun 23, 2008 17:02 pm   Idiom: As black as Newgate's knocker
 

Haihao wrote:
Hi,

Could I suppose "Newgate's knocker" in "As black as Newgate's knocker" is or was very black? Is this idiom still in circulation, say, in UK?

Thank you!

Haihao

Hi Haihao,

It's the first time I hear this idiom, but it makes sense. A 'knocker' is a knock-out punch or a woman's breast (usually big enough to knock you out). Newgate could be anybody (Smith, O'Sullivan's nephew, David when he fought Goliath), and his punch probably causes black eyes.

I thought I'd also heard the expression in baseball before, and here's what I found.
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Idiom: As black as Newgate's knocker #4 (permalink) Mon Jun 23, 2008 18:38 pm   Idiom: As black as Newgate's knocker
 

Now, see, I would have assumed it was the thing on the door that you raise and lower in order to knock. Isn't there a lot of coal there? Or am I thinking of New Castle? If I'm right about the coal, then their hands would be quite dark from handling the coal, so the things that were handled would be black too. Is that even remotely possible?
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Idiom: As black as Newgate's knocker #5 (permalink) Mon Jun 23, 2008 18:55 pm   Idiom: As black as Newgate's knocker
 

Barb_D wrote:
Isn't there a lot of coal there? Or am I thinking of New Castle?
ROTFL :lol:

Exactly the same sort of confusion hit me, Barb! I knew there was some sort of idiom with "New" and "coal", but initially couldn't come up with "Newcastle".

At any rate, I'm not familiar with the "Newgate" idiom either, but Ms Google did find this for me:
http://www.panicattack.org.uk/aztour/02.html
.
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Idiom: As black as Newgate's knocker #6 (permalink) Mon Jun 23, 2008 19:17 pm   Idiom: As black as Newgate's knocker
 

Yankee wrote:
Barb_D wrote:
Isn't there a lot of coal there? Or am I thinking of New Castle?
ROTFL :lol:

Exactly the same sort of confusion hit me, Barb! I knew there was some sort of idiom with "New" and "coal", but initially couldn't come up with "Newcastle".

At any rate, I'm not familiar with the "Newgate" idiom either, but Ms Google did find this for me:
http://www.panicattack.org.uk/aztour/02.html
.

That's amazing! Knock on wood, there's doorbells these days :P
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Idiom: As black as Newgate's knocker #7 (permalink) Mon Jun 23, 2008 19:41 pm   Idiom: As black as Newgate's knocker
 

Funny you should mention that, Ralf. We don't have a knocker or a doorbell. So, people literally have to knock directly on the door. That can sometimes be tough to hear, though. Fortunately, we have installed something even better than a knocker or a doorbell for alerting us that there are visitors at the door. It's known as a "dog". :mrgreen:
.
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Idiom: As black as Newgate's knocker #8 (permalink) Mon Jun 23, 2008 20:13 pm   Idiom: As black as Newgate's knocker
 

Okay, well at least I had the right type of knocker and knew it wasn't a woman's boob!

I have found several models of "dog" to be an effective visitor detection device.

I like New Castle Brown Ale. DOes that count for anything?
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Idiom: As black as Newgate's knocker #9 (permalink) Mon Jun 23, 2008 21:13 pm   Idiom: As black as Newgate's knocker
 

Barb_D wrote:
I like New Castle Brown Ale. DOes that count for anything?

It does indeed. It can raise the hair on a dog :D
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Idiom: As black as Newgate's knocker #10 (permalink) Mon Jun 23, 2008 21:39 pm   Idiom: As black as Newgate's knocker
 

"As black as Newgate's knocker" can still sometimes be heard in the UK; though mostly from people in their 70s or over, from the London area. Sometimes it's transformed into something like "Noogie's knocker"; it tends to turn up in a Cockney or East London accent.

I would say (tentatively) that "as black as N's k." can have implications of grimness; while its more popular rival "as black as the Ace of Spades" tends to refer only to colour.

A "Newgate knocker" was also a kind of lovelock, popular among street traders, etc. in the 19th century.

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Idiom: As black as Newgate's knocker #11 (permalink) Mon Jun 23, 2008 21:49 pm   Idiom: As black as Newgate's knocker
 

MrPedantic wrote:
"As black as Newgate's knocker" can still sometimes be heard in the UK; though mostly from people in their 70s or over, from the London area. Sometimes it's transformed into something like "Noogie's knocker"; it tends to turn up in a Cockney or East London accent.

I would say (tentatively) that "as black as N's k." can have implications of grimness; while its more popular rival "as black as the Ace of Spades" tends to refer only to colour.

A "Newgate knocker" was also a kind of lovelock, popular among street traders, etc. in the 19th century.

MrP

I did some googling for the knocker phrase and got 206 hits. The Phrase Finder provides us with quite a few as black as... phrases, but the most common 'as black as coal' simile is not among them.
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Idiom: As black as Newgate's knocker #12 (permalink) Mon Jun 23, 2008 21:59 pm   Idiom: As black as Newgate's knocker
 

Yankee wrote:
Funny you should mention that, Ralf. We don't have a knocker or a doorbell. So, people literally have to knock directly on the door. That can sometimes be tough to hear, though. Fortunately, we have installed something even better than a knocker or a doorbell for alerting us that there are visitors at the door. It's known as a "dog". :mrgreen:
.

Hi Amy,

I'm a big Martin Scorsese fan, and I recently watched his fameless/nonfamous debut Who's that knocking at my Door. Ever seen it?
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Idiom: As black as Newgate's knocker #13 (permalink) Tue Jun 24, 2008 0:58 am   Idiom: As black as Newgate's knocker
 

Thank you all!

Just a few more I would appreciate it if you could shed some light on:

1. As black as thunder. Is it because the sky becomes dark or black when a thunder is produced?
2. As black as your hat. What kind of hat? A cowboy's?

Thank you!

Haihao
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Idiom: As black as Newgate's knocker #14 (permalink) Tue Jun 24, 2008 10:10 am   Idiom: As black as Newgate's knocker
 

Hi Haihao
Haihao wrote:
1. As black as thunder. Is it because the sky becomes dark or black when a thunder is produced?
I imagine that probably has something to do with it.

Haihao wrote:
2. As black as your hat. What kind of hat? A cowboy's?
That's another expression I'm not familiar with. Somehow I seriously doubt there is a connection with a cowboy hat. It would seem more likely to be a reference to a top hat:
http://images.google.com/images?um=1&hl=en&q=top+hat&btnG=Search+Images
.
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Idiom: As black as Newgate's knocker #15 (permalink) Tue Jun 24, 2008 10:52 am   Idiom: As black as Newgate's knocker
 

Thank you Amy again, indeed.
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