Gift for the ages?

ehlow

New Member
Chinese, Cantonese
Hello,

Can anyone explain to me what is meant by "Gift for the ages"? I couldn't find it in the idiom dictionary.

I saw a title of a commentary that goes, "Pension plan could be his gift for the ages"
 
  • timpeac

    Senior Member
    English (England)
    Hello,

    Can anyone explain to me what is meant by "Gift for the ages"? I couldn't find it in the idiom dictionary.

    I saw a title of a commentary that goes, "Pension plan could be his gift for the ages"
    I don't know this idiom either - but are you sure you have transcribed it correctly? It doesn't seem correct to me in other respects - for example I would have thought it should be "A pension plan" or "Pension plans" but not simply "Pension plan".

    If not maybe it wasn't written by a native speaker.
     

    futuromadrileño

    Senior Member
    English - USA
    Regardless of the sentence's beginning, "for the ages" is an idiom that indicates that something is truly great or memorable...

    "2010 was a year for the ages."
     

    ehlow

    New Member
    Chinese, Cantonese
    I think the author used simply "Pension plan" because it was a title of an opinion column. If it was used within a body of text, it would be "A pension plan could be a gift for the ages".

    I googled some other examples that used "of the ages", instead of "for the ages",

    "It was the most remarkable gift of the ages…a glorious Christmas gift for us all."
    "Sunscreen is our gift of the ages. Always use one outdoors."
     

    Copyright

    Senior Member
    American English
    I imagine this is about Hong Kong. Here is a headline and the first paragraph from an article in the South China Morning Post (unlinked because the SCMP is a subscription service):

    Pension plan could be Tsang's gift for the ages
    Chief Executive Donald Tsang Yam-kuen has a year and a half left in office. He will hand over one of the best run, most prosperous and peaceful cities in Asia, and for that he will deserve all our thanks. But what grand legacy, what major accomplishment of his, will the history books mention?


    The "history books" is your clue ... that is where the history of the ages will be recorded. For the ages is for all the time that comes after now, and accords with futuro's "truly great or memorable" description.

    As for using just "Pension plan," that is typical of newspaper headlines.

    Personally, I would use "gift for the ages" (like, gift for you), rather than "gift of the ages" which makes it sound like the ages are giving us a gift.
     

    timpeac

    Senior Member
    English (England)
    I haven't heard of the idiom "gift for the ages" so that caused me to reexamine the whole sentence wondering if it had been correctly transcribed. Perhaps it's not British English, or perhaps it's just me that hasn't heard it - but in either case I agree that the strange grammar of saying simply "pension plan" is indicative of journalistic usage.
     

    Copyright

    Senior Member
    American English
    I haven't heard of the idiom "gift for the ages" so that caused me to reexamine the whole sentence wondering if it had been correctly transcribed.
    That's interesting. I might speculate on it's being American English except that Hong Kong is firmly British English (and the SCMP writers are pretty literate). In any case, Google is showing over six million results for "gift for the ages."
     

    Alxmrphi

    Senior Member
    UK English
    I haven't heard of the idiom "gift for the ages" so that caused me to reexamine the whole sentence wondering if it had been correctly transcribed. Perhaps it's not British English, or perhaps it's just me that hasn't heard it - but in either case I agree that the strange grammar of saying simply "pension plan" is indicative of journalistic usage.
    That's interesting. I might speculate on its being American English except that Hong Kong is firmly British English (and the SCMP writers are pretty literate). In any case, Google is showing over six million results for "gift for the ages."
    I'm quite familiar with gift for the ages, more than gift of the ages, which still sounds okay, but maybe because it's so similar to the other expression I'm accepting it as being fine.
     
    Last edited:

    Loob

    Senior Member
    English UK
    "Gift for the ages" is a new expression for me, too.
    Google is showing over six million results for "gift for the ages."
    Actually, if you click through to the last page of google hits, there are only 333 unique examples:).
     

    Copyright

    Senior Member
    American English
    "Gift for the ages" is a new expression for me, too.Actually, if you click through to the last page of google hits, there are only 333 unique examples:).
    I finally see how that works -- I always just clicked 10 and never went further. This time I went to the end (thank you for the push).

    Of course, I then had to do the same for "gift of the ages" and there are only 71 results. :)
     
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