Change

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 quo, 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
A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

More on Change from Fact Monster:

  • Michael Chang - Michael Chang Born: Feb. 22, 1972 Tennis won the 1989 French Open , becoming the youngest men's ...
  • Chang Hsüeh-liang - Chang Hsüeh-liang Chang Hsüeh-liang or Zhang Xueliang, 1898–2001, Chinese warlord, ...
  • Chang Tso-lin - Chang Tso-lin Chang Tso-lin , 1873–1928, Chinese general. Chang was of humble birth. As the ...
  • Chang Chih-tung - Chang Chih-tung Chang Chih-tung , 1837–1909, Chinese Ch'ing dynasty statesman and ...
  • Ming E. Chang - Ming E. Chang business leader, rear admiral (retired) Chang served in the U.S. Navy for 34 years ...

Related Content