Thursday, May 17, 2007

A Night on the Tiles - etymology

What is the origin of the phrase "A Night on the Tiles"?
A web search came up with an Australian who myopically thought the phrase came from down under and referred to the notion that when you are very pissed you end up on the tiled floor of the bathroom after having called Huey on the porcelain telephone. A nice idea, but wrong.
We all know how to use the phrase. It refers to a wild party, a night out of unusual debauch. Tying one on.
Another web pundit suggested that the phrase comes from London at the 1900s and refers to a night spent dancing on tiled dancefloors.
I don't buy it.
There is a book called "British English A to Zed" by Norman W. Schur. In it he suggests that "A Night on the Tiles" is from the amourous roof-top night-time activities of cats.
That's the one for me.

Now a gratuitous atheist post:

"Act now and you get Sundays FREE!"
Hat tip to Darwin's Dagger

3 Comments:

At 12:17 am, Anonymous Anonymous said...

There was quite a famous club on Oxford Street in the sixties called 'Tiles' where all the boys and girls into Mod would go and hang out. There was quite a lot of drink and drugs that went on in there. Not sure if that is the real origin or if the expression is older but as for the Led Zeplin song they were a band that would have possibly gone to there.

 
At 7:29 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

think but not 100% sure the term comes from secret organisations meetings,one person was selected as a look out.they would sit on the roof whilst the meeting took place.some meetings take a while and the lookout could end up "spending a night on the tiles".

 
At 3:51 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

No it comes from the way tom cats go out at night and come home in the morning to get fed. They spend the night on the roof tops chasing girl cats.

 

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