"It's not spiders I dislike, just people." -Petra
Question #4725 posted on 04/03/2004 12:01 a.m.
Q:

Dear 100 Hour Board,

Where did the term, "rolling in his grave" originate?

-Toodlepipp

A: Dear Too-dull,

The phrase "rolling in his grave" is, as far as I can tell, an adaptation to someone "turning in his grave" or the full phrase was that something was "enough to make him turn in his grave".

There is a reference to the phrase in 1864 of "The holiday-making and mixture of high and low here, are themselves enough to make Sir Massinberd turn in his grave."

The principle is that something is so improper in any of a variety of manners (traditionally, morally, ethically, etc.) that it would upset a now dead person, who in life had been an authority in such a field.

Try looking in the Dictionary of Clichés for more info.

-CGNU Grad