Posted by: Dutch | January 10, 2010

No rest for the wicked

Meaning

Literal meaning – the wicked shall be tormented.

Origin

From the Bible, Isaiah 57 (King James Version):

57:20 But the wicked are like the troubled sea, when it cannot rest, whose waters cast up mire and dirt.

57:21 There is no peace, saith my God, to the wicked.

The phrase appears in print periodically over the centuries, often with direct reference back to the biblical text. Its use in a figurative secular sense became much more common in the 1930s and it is now usually used for mild comic effect. The 1930s usage picked up after 1933 when Harold Gray used the phrase as a title for one of his highly popular Little Orphan Annie cartoons, which was syndicated in several US newspapers.

– Special thanks to Gary Martin of The Phrase Finder

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