Friday, 21 January 2011

Cash-Strapped Lifelines

Syscap chief executive, Philip White, said: "HMRC has been gradually making it harder to access its Time to Pay scheme, which has been a lifeline for cash-strapped businesses over the past two years.
   - The Guardian

Being strapped for cash does not, dear mucky-minded reader, mean that you are selling your body in some dingy S&M club. I mean, you may be. I'm too polite to ask. The strap in cash-strapped is a strap, but it is being used for safety reasons, not sensual ones.

If you are falling or drowning then you need a strap to hang on to. If you are fallen on hard times, or drowning in debt, then you need a loan. That loan is a metaphorical strap onto which you can hang above the oceans of insolvency.

Therefore, if I have loaned you money, I have strapped you. Thus you are strapped for cash, or cash-strapped.

Or at least that's how people talked in the mid-nineteenth century. These days we keep the same metaphor but call the strap a lifeline. And that's what's so lovely about that sentence from The Guardian: sibling metaphors. Businesses that have already been thrown a strap are now being offered a life-line. It's all very ropey.

So there is nothing at all dirty about being strapped for cash. Strapping young men is a different proposition, and you should probably stop before you are caught.

The Inky Fool consults his bank manager

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