Posted by: Jack Henry | March 4, 2021

Editor’s Corner: No Worse for Wear

Today I was talking to someone who had just come back from vacation and I said her writing was “no worse for wear,” indicating that just because she took some time off, her writing was still fabulously error-free. Where I got a bit stuck was trying to remember if it was “worse for wear” or “worse for ware.” I decided that “wear” was correct, but then I thought, “What an odd phrase.“ Wear makes a little bit of sense, but not much. It seemed to me like a good time to look into this particular idiom.

From our idiom experts at The Grammarist:

The phrase the worse for wear describes someone or something that has been used and shows signs of that use. Something that is the worse for wear is in bad condition, shabby, worn out. A person who is described as being the worse for wear may look exhausted, ill, dirty or disheveled. The worse for wear may also be used as a euphemism for someone who is drunk or hungover from drinking, especially in British English. To express that someone has endured something and come through it with no ill effect, the expression none the worse for wear is used. The expression the worse for wear dates back at least to 1546.

Actually, now that I read that, I think I said, “No worse for the wear.” I guess I’m not even using the idiom correctly. Maybe that’s a sign that I should just say, “I hope you had a nice vacation. Being away certainly didn’t have a negative effect on your writing.”

And something completely unrelated, but it made me laugh:

Kara Church

Pronouns: she/her/hers

Technical Editor, Advisory

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