for a shake and a cut

Quantz

Senior Member
French
Context is the story of a young successful contract negotiator.

"Gabriel negotiated a contract whereby
for a shake and a cut Ambroise Paré became the first wealthy one-armed undertaker in Hellwaine, ME."

Not sure to understand "for a shake and a cut". Something related to surgery (Ambroise Paré) or juste something like "en deux temps trois mouvements " ?
 
  • CarlosRapido

    Senior Member
    français - English (Can)
    I don't think your source is talking about Ambroise Paré, surgeon to the king of France of the 1500's ....Paré became the first wealthy one-armed undertaker in Hellwaine, ME. The state of Maine didn't exist in those years.
     

    akaAJ

    Senior Member
    American English, Yiddish
    Doubtless an inside joke; Maine and New Hampshire have many former Québécois residents with (obviously) French names. I still need more context.
     

    Language Hound

    Senior Member
    American English
    My educated guess is that it means "with a handshake and for a cut of the profits."
    (For some reason, I'm unable to access the text on google books so I can't be sure.)
     

    pointvirgule

    Senior Member
    langue française
    shake : Slang A bargain or deal: getting a fair shake.
    cut : Informal A portion of profits or earnings; a share.
    (Source : American Heritage Dictionary, via thefreedictionary)

    Cependant, pas assez de contexte pour savoir quelle est la nature de cette aubaine, et qui en profite et empoche une part des bénéfices.

    Ajout : Mais peut-être bien, après tout, en effet, que shake veut juste dire handshake (un contrat conclu à l'amiable par une simple poignée de mains). C'est sensé.
     
    Last edited:

    Quantz

    Senior Member
    French
    My educated guess is that it means "with a handshake and for a cut of the profits."
    (For some reason, I'm unable to access the text on google books so I can't be sure.)
    Bravo.

    shake : Slang A bargain or deal: getting a fair shake.
    cut : Informal A portion of profits or earnings; a share.
    (Source : American Heritage Dictionary, via thefreedictionary)

    Cependant, pas assez de contexte pour savoir quelle est la nature de cette aubaine, et qui en profite et empoche une part des bénéfices.
    Re-bravo.
     

    BruceG

    New Member
    English-US
    I think the expression is a shave and a haircut. Wikipedia says "In music, the call "Shave and a Haircut" and the associated response "two bits" is a simple, 7-note musical couplet or riff popularly used at the end of a musical performance, usually for comic effect..."Two bits" is an archaism in the United States for 25 cents, a quarter."Ambroise became wealthy on a 25 cent investment.
     

    Zyprexa

    Senior Member
    In Who Framed Roger Rabbit, you may remember Roger betrays his hiding place because he cannot resist completing the jingle: A shave and a haircut -- two bits! (when was the last time any of us had a haircut for 25c?) Anyway, regrettably, much as the allusion is seductive, I think the posts by Language Hound and by ";" are even more so for me, and pretty much nail it.
     

    akaAJ

    Senior Member
    American English, Yiddish
    Language Hound's emendation "with a handshake and for a cut" gives the quote a straightforward meaning. With the single preposition "for" there remains the possibility that "shake" is a typo for "shape" or "shave".
     

    Language Hound

    Senior Member
    American English
    With the single preposition "for" there remains the possibility that "shake" is a typo for "shape" or "shave".
    I don't believe so.
    I understand it as he bought the business--or whatever the contract allowed him to do-- "for a (hand)shake and a cut of the profits."
    I see "for..." being used to express the "price."
     

    akaAJ

    Senior Member
    American English, Yiddish
    There is no mention of "buying", no sign of who is giving up the fortune and who is getting a cut (it must be someone else -- who would give up the whole to retain a fraction, for a handshake?), nor who shook hands..This could be a fairly shady transaction or conspiracy to defraud. It could be that Gabriel sealed the deal when Ambroise offered him a share of the profits and they shook hands on it. Or it could be a typo; I still think the single "for" invites ambiguity.
     
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