Monday, January 9, 2012

You're all set!

Where does this expression come from? You hear it all the time. The waitress puts your food down on the table and says, "There, you're all set!" The travel agent hands you everything you need for your trip and says, "You're all set." Everyone's always telling us we're all set. Where does this phrase come from?

What do you think? Is it a shortening of a longer statement? All set for . . . what?

At Word Detective, I found a semi-reference. It's really about another expression: "Bob's your uncle". Here's how WD explained it:
"Bob's your uncle" is a way of saying "you're all set" or "you've got it made." 
Well, I don't see "you've got it made" as the equivalent of "you're all set". So no help there. Any suggestions from folks out there in Peanut Land? Raise your hand!

One last note. This page has a zillion comments about the phrase and some of them are funny. The commenters focus on whether the phrase is used throughout the US or only in the northeast. We seem to have a festering pocket of you're all set usage here. We're mad about it. I find it funny that many of the commenters used the waitress remark as an example. "Y'all set, honey?" The hive mind at work. So what do you guys think? What's with this phrase? I think it's weird.