Ringing the changes. Repeating the same thing in different
ways. The allusion is to bell-ringing. To know how many changes can be
rung on a peal of bells, multiply the known preceding number by the
next subsequent one, thus: 1 bell no change; 2 bells, 1 X 2 = 2
changes; 3 bells, 2 X 3 = 6 changes; 4 bells, 6 X 4 = 24 changes; 5
bells, 24 X 5 = 120 changes; 6 bells, 720 changes, etc.
Take your change out of that.
Said to a person who insults you when you give him a quid pro
and tell him to take out the change. It is an allusion to
shopping transactions, where you settle
the price of the
article, and put the surplus or change in your pocket.
Source: Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, E. Cobham Brewer, 1894
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