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great pith and moment Import, significance, weight. This expression comes from Hamlet’s most well-known (“To be or not to be”) soliloquy:
And enterprises of great pith and moment
With this regard their currents turn awry
And lose the name of action. (III, i)
nothing to sneeze at Not a thing to be ignored or rejected as a trifle; not a person to be treated with derision or contempt; worthy of serious consideration; also not to be sneezed at. Now used exclusively in the negative, to sneeze at ‘to regard as of little value’ was common in the 1800s, though precisely how “sneezing at” came to be equated with an estimation of worth is not clear. The expression is most often found with reference to sums of money, as illustrated by the following passage from Lock-hart’s Memoirs of Sir Walter Scott:
As I am situated, £300 or £400 is not to be sneezed at.
pay one’s dues To prove one-self worthy by fulfilling obligations; to start at the bottom, gain experience, and work one’s way up. As early as the 1600s, dues referred to a fee for membership in an organization. In the United States, during the 1900s, dues gained currency as a figurative slang term for nonfinancial obligations; pay one’s dues means to earn rights or recognition with hard work and perseverance. The expression is current especially among jazz musicians in referring to the years of anonymity and financial hardship devoted to learning and developing an individual style.
Duke, Thad, Mel and myself, we’ve paid considerable amounts of dues in trying to get this thing off the ground. (Down Beat, April 17, 1969)
worth one’s salt To be worthy or deserving of one’s wages or pay; to be efficient and hard-working; often used negatively in the phrase not to be worth one’s salt. The salt of this expression is said to have come from the old Roman practice of paying soldiers their wages in salt, then a rare and precious commodity. When money for the purchase of salt was substituted for the salt itself, it was known as salārium ‘salt money,’ the predecessor of the English salary, from Latin sal ‘salt.’ Worth one’s salt has been in common usage since the early 19th century.
worth the whistle Worthy, deserving; acceptable, commendable; of value and importance. This expression, implying that a person is worth the effort of whistling for him, is derived from a proverb cited by John Heywood in Dialogue Containing the Number in Effect of All the Proverbs in the English Tongue (1546):
It is a poor dog that is not worth the whistling.
Shakespeare uses the phrase in King Lear when Goneril implies that at one time she was held in high regard by Albany, but that now she is being treated more poorly and with less respect than one would accord a common cur:
I have been worth the whistle. (IV, ii)
The expression is often used in the negative not worth a whistle, frequently to describe a person whose friendship is considered worthless.
|Noun||1.||worthiness - the quality or state of having merit or value|
deservingness, meritoriousness, merit - the quality of being deserving (e.g., deserving assistance); "there were many children whose deservingness he recognized and rewarded"
quotability - the quality of being worthy of being quoted
roadworthiness - (of motor vehicles) the quality of being fit to drive on the open road
goodness, good - that which is pleasing or valuable or useful; "weigh the good against the bad"; "among the highest goods of all are happiness and self-realization"
unworthiness - the quality or state of lacking merit or value