Why The Phrase Nose To Grindstone?

I was going to say that I've had my nose to the grindstone in an effort to get my latest romance novel Scents and Sensuality published by tomorrow, Valentine's Day, which was what I announced.

Actually, the book will be 1 week late so light is blazing at the end of that tunnel. (One could have an entire conversation with hackneyed phrases.)

I've sent Scents and Sensuality to a couple of proofreaders. I was at this stage months ago. However, when I got it back and read it again myself, I just wasn't happy with it. Now, I am. The book makes me smile. Next week when I get it back, I'll format and upload to all the platforms. So all you who have been eagerly anticipating this book, you'll have it next week.

But, let's talk about grindstones. It's an evocative phrase, and I've used it often. So, I decided to research its origin.

2 Explanations

The phrase started appearing in print in the 16th century. In early 20th century rural America, it was a common phrase that meant to apply oneself conscientiously to work.

One story is that it came from millers who checked the huge stones used for grinding wheat by putting their nose to the stone to see if friction was causing them to burn.

In mills, grindstones are called millstones, and they are humongous. I doubt this story.

The second origin story is that it came from the practice of knife grinders who would bend over their grindstone when sharpening blades.

When I was a kid, I saw men sharpening knives this way. They do bend down close to the wheel to make sure they're holding the blade evenly against the stone. This story sounds more plausible.

Takeaway Truth

Back to the grindstone. While I'm waiting for the proofreads, I've started the final edit on Cinderella Blue, Book 2 of the San Antone Two-Step Duet. This romantic comedy was easy-peasy and will be published in March.

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