|stuff and nonsense
||[Dec. 30th, 2009|12:23 pm]
Historical Origins of English Words and Phrases
stuff and nonsense
-Used as a singular phrase meaning 'rubbish, nonsense,' this expression was first recorded in an 1827 issue of the British newspaper The Times. It appeared in an article about a parliamentary debate, which said: "He had at once to declare, that all notions of concerting and of dictating to the King in the exercise of his prerogative, was mere stuff and nonsense." [italics added] The use of nonsense in this phrase is obvious, so people tend to be most confused about the addition of stuff. Simply put, stuff acts as an intensifier for nonsense, in effect doubling how ridiculous or nonsensical the referred subject is.