Chrysti The Wordsmith: Clean as a Whistle
Greetings and welcome to Christie the wordsmith from Montana State University in Bozeman. If it's clean as a whistle it's tidy neat and pure. But what exactly is the whistle doing in this simile. Here is one more familiar English expression whose origin has been forgotten. Today I will look at several suggestions that have stepped in to fill the etymological void. The whistle featured in this cliché may be one of old fashioned hand hewn wood often Willow. Perhaps clean as a whistle refers to the smooth clean surface of a willow stick after the bark has been removed to make a whistle. Another account has the original phrase clean as a whistle. W H I T T L E E. Again evoking the smooth texture of freshly skinned wood. Other sources claim that whistles both metal and wood must literally be clean and dry on the inside to produce their characteristic sound. Supporting this origin is a citation from 1842 which reads. By the time we reach the
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- KGLT (Bozeman, Montana)
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Producing Organization: KGLT
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Identifier: A75CB214A75D164AC5B291589F0D36D9 (KGLT(MD5))
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- Chicago: “Chrysti The Wordsmith: Clean as a Whistle,” KGLT, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (WGBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed June 27, 2019, http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip_309-41zcrpcv.
- MLA: “Chrysti The Wordsmith: Clean as a Whistle.” KGLT, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (WGBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. June 27, 2019. <http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip_309-41zcrpcv>.
- APA: Chrysti The Wordsmith: Clean as a Whistle. Boston, MA: KGLT, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (WGBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip_309-41zcrpcv