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What does 'decorating the mahagony' mean?



 
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What does 'decorating the mahagony' mean? #1 (permalink) Tue Jul 08, 2008 8:51 am   What does 'decorating the mahagony' mean?
 

English Language Tests, Intermediate level

ESL/EFL Test #331 "English Slang Idioms (52)", question 10

"Boy, you all are sure ......... the mahogany. How much money did you dump into this place, anyway? Looks like a heck of a lot!" Mitch said to Todd.

(a) burning
(b) decorating
(c) matching
(d) cutting

English Language Tests, Intermediate level

ESL/EFL Test #331 "English Slang Idioms (52)", answer 10

"Boy, you all are sure decorating the mahogany. How much money did you dump into this place, anyway? Looks like a heck of a lot!" Mitch said to Todd.

Correct answer: (b) decorating

Your answer was: incorrect
"Boy, you all are sure burning the mahogany. How much money did you dump into this place, anyway? Looks like a heck of a lot!" Mitch said to Todd.
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What does 'decorating the mahagony' mean?

Priya Raghavan
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What does 'decorating the mahagony' mean? #2 (permalink) Tue Jul 08, 2008 15:44 pm   What does 'decorating the mahagony' mean?
 

I'm not familiar with this expression at all. However, 'decorating the mahogany' apparently does not mean the same thing as this in the sentence:
http://www.usingenglish.com/reference/idioms/decorate+the+mahogany.html
.
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What does 'decorating the mahagony' mean? #3 (permalink) Wed Jul 09, 2008 3:42 am   What does 'decorating the mahagony' mean?
 

'decorating the mahogany' is a brand new one for me, also...

Despite the number of hours I've logged in bars, I've never heard the 'buying drinks' one, either. Further research identifies it as hobo slang, so I suppose my lack of quality time buying drinks for hobos might explain my unfamiliarity with that phrase...
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What does 'decorating the mahagony' mean? #4 (permalink) Wed Jul 09, 2008 18:32 pm   What does 'decorating the mahagony' mean?
 

Hi,
I think there are two meanings to this idiom. One is buying a round of drinks for everyone at a bar because I think some bars (what stands in between the customers and the bartenders) used to made of mahogany wood so if you buy everyone a round of drinks, you are decorating the wooden bar with drinks. I don't think it refers to only hobos, though, as mahogany is very expensive wood - used in pretty nice places/bars etc.

The other meaning refers to the quality of the wood. Mahogany is expensive, beautiful wood so if you add some elements to an already nice, aesthetic place, you are decorating the mahogany (you're going over and above, going all out, being extravagant etc.). This is the meaning I've heard before.
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