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: "...polish the cannon balls."

Posted by David FG on June 21, 2006

In Reply to: : "...polish the cannon balls." posted by Victoria S Dennis on June 21, 2006

: : : : "...polish the cannon balls." Where did the phrase 'no need to polish the cannon balls' come from. I have heard it used to indicate over preparation.

: : It's not a phrase I am familiar with, but I assume it comes from the fact that polishing cannon balls is a rather pointless activity: adding a needless refinement.
: : DFG

: In the British Army it was traditional to whitewash the coal before an important inspection. (VSD)

Is that actually authenticated? I have always assumed that it was something of a myth, and that those completely pointless tasks, if performed at all, were performed as a punishment.

After all, why would any high-ranking visitor be anywhere near any place the coal was kept? It probably isn't most Generals' idea of a good time to inspect the cellars.


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