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#1 2013-04-12 20:40:02

fpberger
Eggcornista
Registered: 2006-08-16
Posts: 130

Don't Fret the Small Stuff

I heard senator Paul Ryan say this on the radio today, and I found several instances that look very intentional on the web. I actually have no idea where the idiom “Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff” comes from, and this version makes plenty of sense.

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#2 2013-04-14 04:22:29

DavidTuggy
Eggcornista
From: Mexico
Registered: 2007-10-12
Posts: 1751
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Re: Don't Fret the Small Stuff

There are a family of usages such as don’t sweat it and sweat it out where sweat is used transitively and pretty clearly means something like “get hot&bothered over, be very worried about, be in a stew over”. I reckon the don’t sweat the small stuff idiom comes, fairly transparently, from such usages. Sweat is used intransitively to similar effect in phrases like he was really sweatin’! meaning ‘he was extremely worried’.

Fret is a good eggcorn for sweat here, for me. It does involve a usage extension of fret to straight transitive usage; I don’t usually fret things, but fret about or over them. If I did fret them, this would seem likely to be an independent, perfectly normal formation.

Last edited by DavidTuggy (2013-04-14 04:25:53)


*If the human mind were simple enough for us to understand,
we would be too simple-minded to understand it* .

(Possible Corollary: it is, and we are .)

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#3 2013-04-30 11:49:09

Dixon Wragg
Eggcornista
From: Santa Rosa, California
Registered: 2008-07-04
Posts: 619

Re: Don't Fret the Small Stuff

I’m reminded of the joke: Don’t sweat the petty things, and don’t pet the sweaty things.

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