grin your ears off

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spanish - spain
In Playboy of the Western World, widow Quin tells Christy:

"and let you tell us your story before Pegeen will come, in place of grinning your ears off like the moon of May. "
does it mean grinning widely? does moon of May here mean the month?
  • dermott

    Senior Member
    B.E. via Australian English
    It would mean a very big grin. The moon of May is an expression that features more than once in Playboy of the Western World. The play is Irish and full of colloquialisms. From what I can work out, moon of May seems to represent an extreme. It may be that it refers to a full moon but that's only a guess. Someone with more knowledge of Irish colloquialisms may have a better idea.

    Enquiring Mind

    Senior Member
    English - the Queen's
    Hi tarama, "grin your ears off" is not an established expression. A search on Google only threw up eight results for me, five of them from the same source material. However it is easily understood by analogy with other established expressions like "laugh your head off" and "cry your eyes out". In other words, the action (grinning, laughing, crying) is taken to the extreme.


    post mod (English Only / Latin)
    English - US
    I imagine that the idea is that an extremely wide grin would extend to the ears, and perhaps past them -- if the ears are grinned 'off.'

    Added: We say of someone who is grinning very widely that they are 'grinning from ear to ear.'
    See: smile from ear to ear [grin]
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