It’s strange how sayings we use all the time continue to pop up. Today the phrase, “signed, sealed, delivered” has come up twice for me.
First, I received a publication agreement from an author in Australia who is a friend of mine with the heading, “signed, sealed, delivered.” (More about his and his co-author’s unique book later.)
Then I was watching a rerun of Law and Order, SUV, and the cliche came up in the show.
My popular book, Most Comprehensive Origins of Cliches, Proverbs and Figurative Expressions lists the meaning and origin as follows:
Signed, sealed and delivered
Under English law, it has traditionally been required to have important documemnts such as laws, rulings and deeds signed, impressed with the proper wax seal then delivered to the intended party in person. Today this usage is obsolete. The earliest known example is from The History and Life and Death of His Most Serine Highness by Samuel Carrington, 1659.
“…the Articles of Peace were signed, sealed, and delivered on the behalf of both parties, and were accordingly published and proclaimed, to the general satisfaction of all men.”
In a figurative sense it has come to mean that something has gone through proper channels and has been properly executed.
This phrase spawned a 1968 country LP on AllMusic label by Lefty Frizzell, Signed, Sealed and Delivered, including a song by that name written by Cowboy Copas and Lois Mann, and a Stevie Wonder hit song, ‘Signed, Sealed Delivered, I’m Yours,’ released by Motown’s Tamla label in June, 1970.
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