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'lick and a promise' Options
srkdr68
Posted: Sunday, January 23, 2011 11:10:36 AM
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Joined: 1/13/2011
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Location: India
Meaning of 'lick and a promise'?,please.
excaelis
Posted: Sunday, January 23, 2011 12:31:23 PM

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Joined: 6/30/2010
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Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
It means a superficial attempt to do something. Exemplum : I was supposed to thoroughly clean the car, but I just gave it a lick and a promise and hoped that would pass.

There is another similar phrase a kiss and a promise, which means an insincere or flippantly made commitment.
sabrina verick
Posted: Sunday, January 23, 2011 12:42:44 PM
Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 1/22/2011
Posts: 76
Neurons: 224
Location: France
A lick and a promise
Meaning
A cursory effort, for instance at painting or tidying up. It alludes to the perfunctory washing performed by children.

Origin
This is colloquial English and is first recorded in print in Walter White's All round the Wrekin, 1860:

"We only gives the cheap ones a lick and a promise."

vil
Posted: Sunday, January 23, 2011 1:06:30 PM
Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 9/8/2010
Posts: 437
Neurons: 1,311
Location: Bulgaria
lick and a promise = clean, wash in a slipshod manner

And further dust was everywhere…. Sophia’s lip curled, and instinctively she lifted her peignoir. One of her mother’s phrases came into her head: "a lick and a promise” (A. Bennett, “The Old Wives’ Tale”)

You didn’t wash your hands. You just gave them a lick and a promise.
Lawrence
Posted: Monday, January 24, 2011 4:37:54 AM
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Joined: 3/18/2009
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Location: United Kingdom
I've never heard this phrase. In view of the two examples given, I wonder if its use is mainly restricted to the English midlands. Any other sightings?
Alias
Posted: Wednesday, January 26, 2011 7:25:50 AM
Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 10/12/2010
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Location: Australia
Lawrence wrote:
I've never heard this phrase. In view of the two examples given, I wonder if its use is mainly restricted to the English midlands. Any other sightings?


I am originally from Lancashire where it is common but I have heard it here in Oz...I think it is more widespread and has variations in several countries and languages.
sabrina verick
Posted: Wednesday, January 26, 2011 7:31:45 AM
Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 1/22/2011
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Neurons: 224
Location: France
http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/+lick+and+a+promise
look here!!
RuthP
Posted: Wednesday, January 26, 2011 4:10:19 PM

Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 6/2/2009
Posts: 5,408
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Location: Drain, Oregon, United States
Lawrence wrote:
I've never heard this phrase. In view of the two examples given, I wonder if its use is mainly restricted to the English midlands. Any other sightings?

It was quite common in my home growing up. I'm from Left-Coast U.S., but the parental units were from the Midwest. Any other AE speakers?
worldsclyde
Posted: Wednesday, January 26, 2011 4:45:23 PM
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Joined: 4/24/2010
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Location: Spokane, WA USA
I grew up here, there and everywhere as an army brat. I thought it was a common phrase.
Babezy
Posted: Wednesday, January 26, 2011 6:29:07 PM
Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 10/16/2009
Posts: 926
Neurons: 2,806
Location: United States
American Midwest all my life, and grew up knowing it.
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