Discussions about eggcorns and related topics
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Chris -- 2011-03-08
As a comment to the database entry ‘Grew Like Topsy’, my strong memory of my mother’s usage (and that of her contemporaries), is that it was used, not so much to describe excess growth, as to describe undirected, unsupervised growth, for which one could not be held responsible – it was a kind of fatalistic verbal shrug that could be applied as easily to a strangely gnarled and twisted growth as to an excessive growth.
“It just grew – like Topsy” – meaning without knowing inteference, the result of nature and random chance.
That’s always been my impression os the meaning of the phrase.
Topsy was a girl, and she grew, as all children do, in spurts, and without anybody specifically doing anything about it. And perhaps noticeably, the way children do at certain stages.
Uncontrolled. Not phenomenally wild, just without anybody trying to make it happen.