When was it an initial used? Is this the original idiom, or to be there an larger version? Furthermore, how should its definition be interpreted?


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The aphorism to be coined by the Dallas Cowboys quarterback, Don Meredith, that later came to be a sporting activities commentator for the TV show Monday Night Football in 1970.

17 December 1970, Ada (OK) evening News, pg. 7, col. 1:

Howard Cosell: “If Los Angeles wins, the a large one, yet San Francisco is still an extremely much in it.” Don Meredith: “If ifs and buts were candy and nuts, we’d all have a merry Christmas.

You are watching: Ifs and buts were candy and nuts

” Howard: “I didn’t think you will do remember the old canard.” Don: “Is the what that was?”

Source: Barry Popik.com

The 1970 quip soon came to be Meredith"s catchphrase, but it to be a modern-day and comical twisted on a much older proverb dating from the 19th century

If ifs and also ands were pots and pans, there’d it is in no occupational for tinkers’ hands” Oxford Reference

This proverb is used as a humorous retort to someone expressing a forlorn regret (e.g. if only I had actually the money...) or one unrealistic and perhaps end optimistic condition (... and if I had the right connections, I can be famous.)

The earliest example I discovered on Google publications is dated 1845 from The step-mother through George Payne Rainsford James.

Ay! if ifs and also ands to be pots and pans, there would be no occupational for the tinkers.


Sven Yargs has discovered an even earlier example, in The new Monthly Magazine and also Literary Journal, 1828, indigenous a poem entitled A chapter of Ifs

A chapter of Ifs

If Ifs and Ands were pots and pans, ’Twould cure the tinker"s cares: if females did not lug fans, They’d provide themselves no airs: If under the starry skies should fall, The starlings would be cheap: If Belles talk"d reason at a ball, The band can go come sleep.

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And finally, printed in 1821, an excerpt translated from a city entitled Hans Beudix by the German poet Gottfried august Bürger (1747-1794)

Hans Beudix

Are girlfriend there, my old fox, through your ifs and your ans? however I need not repeat you, they"re no pots and pans, else tinkers would certainly starve, (as ns learnt from mine nurse;) tho the answer candlestick pass, for it might have been worse.

See more: How To Write The Full Ground-State Electron Configuration For Each Element.

The original German poem can be uncovered here: Der Kaiser und der Abt. Probably someone can confirm if the translate in is faithful.

Below is an Ngram comparing the two aphorisms: Don Meredith"s “...buts to be candy and nuts” (blue line), and the German/British “ands were pots and also pans” (red line) next by next in the American allisonbrookephotography.com corpus. The time expectations is between 1968 and 2008. The 1968-72 outcomes for Meredith"s coinage room false positives, for this reason it"s always wise to take it Ngrams with a pinch of salt. No results are shown for the American luck in the british allisonbrookephotography.com corpus.