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Old 24th Feb 2016, 04:08
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Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: Glasgow
Posts: 195
No doubt whatsoever in my mind, I've heard the other theories but I'm sure it's RAF slang, referring to Burton, "the tailor of taste". Much diminished now, but they used to have at least one branch, frequently more, in almost every UK town and city, a total of over 400 shops.

Many years ago when I was a young lad, I actually asked my dad, no longer with us, but was a pilot with the RAF during the 1939-1945 "unpleasantness", how the term "went for a Burton" had originated. I think even then I had the feeling it was aviation-related

With a sad look he quietly replied, "Son, that means getting a tailor-made suit, wooden, flying crew for the use of." Post-war he'd gone on to become an airline pilot, but never spoke of any operational wartime experiences, so I think that sentence summed it up.

Edit : Incidentally, perhaps another well known idiom also came from that same enterprise. When, amongst others, ex-forces personnel went for their new suits, they'd get a jacket, trousers, waistcoat and then maybe a tie, a shirt, and so on. That would've been the whole works, or "the full Monty" (as in Montague Burton). Not just dressing the nation, but contributing to the language too!


Last edited by seafire6b; 24th Feb 2016 at 09:42. Reason: And "the full Monty"?
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