HEARD IT THROUGH THE GRAPEVINE
Meaning: An indication that a piece of information was obtained via an informal contact, i.e. word of mouth.
Origin: The first practical public demonstration of the telegraph was given in 1844, when Samuel Morse sent a message from Washington to Baltimore. The invention was widely welcomed as a means of rapidly communicating news. It soon became clear though that close communities already had effective word-of-mouth communications. This distinguished the new direct 'down-the-wire' telegraph from the “grapevine” method, which was likened to the coiling tendrils of a vine. It's clear that the allusion was to interactions amongst people who could be expected to be found amongst grapevines, i.e. the rural poor.
In 1876, The Reno Evening Gazette ran an article about a bumper corn and grape crop. They commented on the fact that the people who were then called Indians and Negroes seemed to be already aware of it (hardly a surprise you might think as it would have been they who had harvested the crops):
Of course 'heard it through the grapevine' is best known to us as the Motown song, recorded by Gladys Knight & the Pips in 1967 and by Marvin Gaye in 1968. It's salutary that, whilst the telegraph is long gone, the person-to-person communication that preceded it is still going strong.
Farm Sayings Friday is weekly feature of Yield Starts Here. You might think your grandparents made it up, but that old saying likely goes back many years. In this feature we will figure out who said it first and what it really means! Do you have a well used saying in your family, send to us and we'll feature it in a future blog.
Yield Starts Here is a blog for farmers, focusing on increasing yield and profitability by focusing on the soil. It is managed by Craig Dick, a Blogronomist and Sales and Marketing Manager at Calcium Products. Find other articles by Craig and guest writers at http://blog.calciumproducts.com/ .