Ever since the movie “The Pirates of the
Caribbean” I have been plagued with the desire to find out where this saying came from… I mean, I got the idea but where did it come from. Found it today and figured I would share it. J
This British catch phrase, meaning all will be well or all will be taken care of dates from the 1890s. Popular etymology says that it derives from a particular act of nepotism in the British government. Robert, Lord Salisbury, the prime minister (left), appointed Arthur Balfour, his nephew (right), to the post of Secretary for
in 1887. Balfour was, at the time, considered young and a political lightweight, and the post was a high-profile, political plum currently embroiled in the question of Irish independence. Aside from the dates, there is no evidence, either way, to link this act with the origin of the phrase, although the phrase's specificity makes this hypothesis appealing. Ireland
Partridge says the phrase may stem from the cant phrase All is bob, meaning all is safe. Although, Paul Beale, editor of Partridge's A Dictionary of Catch Phrases, acknowledges the possibility of the Salisbury/Balfour story.