Trivia Teaser

What US politician was given an honorary knighthood by the Queen in February 2002?

Dick Cheney
Rudolph Giuliani
George W Bush
Bill Clinton

Wouldn't be dead for quids


By Miranda

The weather is fine, the computer hasn't crashed since last week and everything's hunky-dory.

That's probably because I've had a few days off for a family celebration (Congratulations! You know who I mean) which involved driving down the east coast of Australia (well, not all of it) picking up various offspring, nephews and nieces, parents etc., and convoying down to the state of Victoria.

I was haunted all the way down by 'quid' - we haven't used pounds, shillings and pence here for rather a long time so this old piece of slang may have nearly disappeared from common use. Nonetheless it still lurks in our word lists and we're debating whether it should still be there.

In any case, if you were using it in the currency meaning, then it worked as a mass noun, for example, 'I paid nearly fifty quid for that!'. In fact, the only usage I can think of in which a plural form was used is 'wouldn't be dead for quids', which I wouldn't.

Not that you'd be allowed to be dead for quids or anything else if you're driving in that southern state. Firstly because it was a very beautiful drive - from Canberra to Bomballa then down to the coast at Cann River and onward - through five or more levels of vegetation types as you descend from the alpine areas. But mostly because of the road signs.

We were already doing the 'stop every couple of hours' and sharing the driving but even had one been obliged to drive the whole way, I'm not sure it adds to road safety to be adjured every ten kilometres or so to 'POWERNAP NOW'. This when driving on a lovely bit of winding road with high clay embankments which, having had a fair bit of rain recently, had slumped rather onto the verges of the road giving you no room at all to park safely on the edge - and it being unlikely that a powernap in the middle of the road would have the desired impact on safety.

Unfair - the intention is admirable and, if the wording gave us a giggle, at least it kept us awake to read the next one.

So everything's coming up roses... or whatever your favourite 'happiness' phrase is.

And should we save our quids?


14 Responses to

Wouldn't be dead for quids

June 29, 2011 at 2:54 PM

The fact of the matter, Miranda, is that people are still using quids as they used to, as in your illustration. So, yes, the word should remain. It is part of often used expressions, as in "quid pro quo", "a quid of tobacco" etc. And "dollars" or "cents" would just not fit or suit as substitutes.

June 29, 2011 at 4:42 PM

I have always thought it was "I wouldn't be dead for quits" Never really thought about whys and wherefores of it. I guess I was just a tad too young for the association to mean anything. i still refer to feet in regards to length...such a handy length....for kids I have to say a ruler inconvenient. Should we do away with quid? I don't believe so. It will just be an interesting reference for future generations and enrich the ongoing language.

relle said:
June 29, 2011 at 11:36 PM

I agree with you both! Years ago while camping with a group of friends, I remember a Englishman looking up at the star lights while fishing in the pitch black darkness, & he remarked "I wouldn't be dead for quids" at the top of his voice & funnily we now still use the same expression when looking up at the stars to this day! One expression that will never die!

kragzy said:
June 30, 2011 at 9:23 AM

And then there's Darryl Kerrigan at Bonnie Doon: "How's the serenity..". This, and other gems from The Castle, have become favorites in our family.

June 30, 2011 at 11:42 AM

Yes I agree. "I wouldn't be dead for cents" certainly doesn't have the same ring to it. There is always plenty to keep us busy, such as a lovely drive as you have had Miranda. I enjoy getting out and about and travel to and through some of Australia's beautiful scenery. And for a sedate moment there is always lots of puzzles to do!!

June 30, 2011 at 3:56 PM

I'm with you, kragzy! That's my favourite quote, too, along with "This is going straight to the pool room!" The "vibes" in that film were exceptional.

July 01, 2011 at 6:46 AM

I've never watched "The Castle" but after reading above comments, I think I'll try and get hold of a copy!

Xrosie said:
July 01, 2011 at 8:14 AM

Who would be dead? Saw a glorious sunset at the fabulous Mount Mary Hotel last night, and an equally lovely sunrise this morning. Wouldn't see nature at her best if I was dead, and couldn't play Youplay games either.

barneyb said:
July 01, 2011 at 5:30 PM

Hi all, I have thought of another saying with quid in it - "not the full quid". Another great Australian saying. I always had the notion that the saying Miranda mentioned was "wouldn't be dead for quits" as well. Well, I wouldn't be dead for quids or quits. Looking out my window I see 3 magpies and 4 crimson rosellas hunting around my front lawn for food. Lovely sight. Love reading the blogs and enjoy YouPlay on a daily basis. Cheers all :)

nanny24 said:
July 01, 2011 at 6:30 PM

My favourite two phrases are: "Don't count the days, make the days count" "Life is not about the breaths you take, but the moments that take your breath away" I guess in a way this can relate to "wouldn't be dead for quids", just in a more inspirational way. If you take the time to just stop for a while, it's amazing what is happening around you to bring some sunshine into your day and life.

tobic said:
July 03, 2011 at 1:10 PM

I play lawn bowls and it is a phrase that I have heard a lot. When it is a nice warm sunny day, little or no wind, congenial company, it certainly makes me feel like "I wouldn't be dead for quids"........

bika said:
July 03, 2011 at 6:19 PM

I'm more familiar with "wouldn't be dead for all the tea in China". This, to me, is as obvious as "cheap at half the price" (of course it is :D). (PS I vote with kragzy and Beauregarde re The Castle. At our house we often encourage each other to "tell him he's dreaming".)

ballet said:
July 05, 2011 at 1:19 PM

obic i agree with what you said nothing betterthan warm day no wind and with your teamatesssmmf

marula said:
July 08, 2011 at 9:08 PM

This is such an aussie saying. "I wouldn't be dead for quids". This is the title of a book I have read by an excellent aussie author, Robert G. Barrett. Has anyone read any of his books?