I used the phrase, "She put two and two together My understanding is that it means to "connect the dots" or to figure the answer to a question, but I'm uncertain why "put two and two together" became a synonym. My guess is that it originally had a longer form, like, "She put two and two together to get four ," but that the "to get four" part has fallen out of usage. A query by "put two and two together" on the COHA ss shows that the phrase appeared in sentences without a longer form since at least is the year of the first result.
There are occurrences of a longer form "put two and two together and make four". It's not clear whether the shorter form derived from the longer form, but I'd say that your hypothesis makes sense. Here's Charles Taylor in , in Facts and evidences on the subject of Baptism in three additional letters:. How slightly do some very good people read their Bibles!
The Scripture is plain enough, to proper attention. Any who can put two and two together, to make four , may, and indeed must understand it. I am no lawyer, and if it were possible, still less of a conjuror, but, being able to put two and two together, and to ascertain that they make four ; being able to arrive at this conclusion, with mathematical certainty My opinions have not often been contradicted by events ; and my decided opinion is, that, when you and your colleagues have carefully put two and two together ; and then put a one to the four, and by the total have multiplied twenty , the result will show you that it would much better not to proceed with the trial any more than with the Coronation.
After taking off the skin, split them down from the shoulder to the tail, and bone them ; season them highly with salt, spices, and sweet herbs ; then put two and two together , with the shoulder of the one to the tail of the other;. It lists this under its entry for "two". It's always possible the expression was calqued over from French or Latin, which is what I would assume they were using to teach arithmetic and logic at the time.
Put two and two together , an intuitive expression for illustrating something obvious, is from the mid- 19th century:. Put two and two together is a traditional choice for illustrating something elementary that everyone ought to know.
A person who uses false logic faulty arguments to manipulate people is said to make 2 and 2 add up to 5. Put two and two together: The following extract is from The Metropolitan Magazine , Volume 9 , Now, when Sam heard this, he put two and two together, and became very jealous and uneasy: Thank you for your interest in this question.
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Questions Tags Users Badges Unanswered. Join them; it only takes a minute: Here's how it works: Anybody can ask a question Anybody can answer The best answers are voted up and rise to the top. Scott Mitchell 2, 7 25 I'd interpret put two and two together as "made the obvious logical deduction. Seven years too late, but if you had limited the search to two and two you would have found a citation: The earliest uses I can find are and and include the four.
Here's Charles Taylor in , in Facts and evidences on the subject of Baptism in three additional letters: And even more interesting, from the same volume: Both from very similar times. You might think about writing to them and adding the earlier citation. Alternatively, it can just go up at Wiktionary and be used as a talking point for the coming obsolescence of non-crowd-sourced reference works.
The OED has as the earliest use: Or do you mean this antedates their "put two and two together" with the "put"? Put two and two together , an intuitive expression for illustrating something obvious, is from the mid- 19th century: The Phrase Finder Put two and two together: Draw the proper inference from existing evidence, as in Putting two and two together, it's not hard to guess who will be chosen for the lead role in the play.
After taking off the skin, split them down from the shoulder to the tail, and bone them ; season them highly with salt, spices, and sweet herbs ; then put two and two together , with the shoulder of the one to the tail of the other; share improve this answer.
Your use of "put two and two together" is a few decades ahead of the one listed by the OED and by a fairly prominent author as well.More...