ball and chain around the neck

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Silver

Senior Member
Chinese,Cantonese,Sichuan dialect
"The alternative, where people who were once everything to each other become the ball and chain around the neck."

Hello,everyone

Let us look at this sentence,I check out the meaning of "ball and chain" on our dictionary but don't quite understand what does it mean by"around the neck"

So I need your help.
 
  • preppie

    Senior Member
    American English (Mostly MidAtlantic)
    "Ball and chain" is the vernacular for being married. Prisoners wore a heavy cast ball chained to their ankles to keep them from running. That has been modified to mean that marriage, or the spouse is a ball chained to the person to keep them from 'running' out on the special partner.

    One might refer to his spouse as "the old ball and chain" (This is a common expression, although a little dated. We hear it more in older movies than in today's conversations.)

    As with any expression, someone has seen fit to misquote and to put the chain around prisoners neck. This will prevent running..and probably eating and breathing as well.
     
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    Huda

    Senior Member
    Arabic-Egypt
    "The alternative, where people who were once everything to each other become the ball and chain around the neck."

    Hello,everyone

    Let us look at this sentence,I check out the meaning of "ball and chain" on our dictionary but don't quite understand what does it mean by"around the neck"

    So I need your help.
    I think there's something missing in you sentence. Anyway it means it is a problem that it seems impossible to get rid of. It is the first time I've heard such expression, I think it is " a millstone around the neck"
    Huda
     

    se16teddy

    Senior Member
    English - England
    Yes, Silverobama's text is muddling two similar conventional images:
    - a ball and chain, and http://media.photobucket.com/image/ball%20and%20chain/alamogreg/Chains.jpg
    - a millstone around one's neck, http://www.bakelblog.com/.a/6a00d8341d299553ef011278dbfeac28a4-320wi

    A millstone around one's neck makes one drown if one is swimming. A ball and chain are attached to the ankle and hamper one's movements.

    Either of these metaphors could be used of a marriage that turns sour; the two together sound ridiculous.
     
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    preppie

    Senior Member
    American English (Mostly MidAtlantic)
    There's also the 'albatross around one's neck". This was pretty common for a long time and is still in use.

    I guess this guy's ball could have been bartered for either one and then chained to the author's neck - limiting his ability to write the correct expression !
     

    Packard

    Senior Member
    USA, English
    http://www.goodcleanlove.com/blog/?tag=commitment&paged=3

    The 5th paragraph down gives the context.

    "The alternative, where people who were once everything to each other become the ball and chain around the neck. Hard to find even a vestige of respect or kindness, which becomes the family legacy for the children. Maybe having lived that as a child is enough to keep me on my toes."
     

    Silver

    Senior Member
    Chinese,Cantonese,Sichuan dialect
    Oh,I am sorry,because I got this phrase from nowhere,I mean I got it from somewhere then I can't recall,only leaving the chinese,so I tried to find out the meaning,at least corresponding one but proved fruitless,I googled it out then use this sentence and I guessed it might be the right answer according to my chinese translation.
    Thank you guys very much,it is not my willingness not to give out the context and I soberly understand my expression let some of you down,here I deliver sorry and my deep gratitude.
     

    Thomas Tompion

    Senior Member
    English - England
    It might be worth mentioning, Silverobama, that the passage is very badly written. Nevertheless it is clear that the writer means that the partners in the marriage have become a burden to each other.

    I think in the days before women's lib. the ball and chain was an often affectionate term for a wife: the image being of the dashing husband being held back by the conservative wife.

    I remember my father's pleasure at an advertisement in a motoring magazine for an open sports car where the explanation given for selling was 'Ball and chain loves fugbox'; that must have been in the 1950s.

    An albatross is for me another thing altogether. The allusion is to Coleridge's Ancient Mariner and the albatross is a symbol of one's feelings of guilt.
     
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