One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
An expression or form of speech used by or characteristic of the Dickens character Sam Weller or his father, Tony; (usually) specifically a kind of a proverbial expression in which a statement, such as a familiar saying or proverb, is given a humorous or ironic twist by being incongruously or punningly attributed to a particular speaker, typically in a specific situation.
Mid 19th century. From the name of Sam Weller and his father, Tony, two celebrated characters in Dickens's Pickwick Papers + -ism.
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