"Lamb to the Slaughter" - Phrase Origins

Lamb to the Slaughter

Alfred Hitchcock originally broadcast a televised version of Roald Dahl's "Lamb to the Slaughter" in 1958, during his third season of Alfred Hitchcock Presents.  Even though he was a man fond of a good mystery, Hitchcock added his own spin to the very end--adding emphasis to Mary Maloney's tendency to murder unsuspecting men.

Meaning of the Phase:

"In an unconcerned manner - unaware of any impending catastrophe."

Origin of the Phrase: 

From the Bible-King James Version

Jeremiah 11:19:  “But I was like a gentle lamb led to the slaughter; And I did not know that they had devised plots against me, {saying,} "Let us destroy the tree with its fruit, And let us cut him off from the land of the living, That his name be remembered no more."

Isaiah 53:7: “He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth.”

Other Uses: 

In addition to lambs, other verses in the Bible has other animals going 'to the slaughter', i.e. oxen, bullocks and sheep. The allusion to the especial helplessness of lambs was made use of in the 1991 film The Silence of The Lambs

Last modified: Tuesday, 6 November 2012, 8:04 PM