Meaning of Idiom ‘To Not Know Someone From Adam’
To not know someone from Adam means to not know someone at all, having never met them, or to completely unable recognize them. 1Ayto, John. Oxford Dictionary of English Idioms. Oxford: Oxford U, 2010.,2Ammer, Christine. American Heritage Dictionary of Idioms. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2013.
“I don’t know him from Adam, yet he came to my party uninvited.”
“I don’t know you from Adam and you expect me to lend you money?”
Used since the 1800’s, this idiom derives from the biblical story of Adam, the first man, created by God. The idea seems to be that Adam lived so long ago that nobody living today could possibly recognize him.
Charles Dickens used the expression in his story The Old Curiosity Shop (1840):
“He had scarcely bestowed upon him his blessing, and followed it with a general remark touching the present state and prospects of the weather, when, lifting up his eyes, he beheld the single gentleman of Bevis Marks in earnest conversation with Christopher Nubbles.
‘Halloo!’ said Dick, ‘who is that?’
‘He called to see my Governor this morning,’ replied Mr. Chuckster; ‘beyond that, I don’t know him from Adam.'” 3Chrysti. Verbivore’s Feast: Second Course: More Word & Phrase Origins. Helena, MT: Farcountry, 2006.
More Idioms Starting with K
- Knock It Off
- Kiss Ass or Kiss Butt, to
- Keep Your Pants On
- Keep Your (or one’s) Ear to the Ground
- Keep an Open Mind
More Biblical Idioms
- Leopard Can’t Change Its Spots, a
- Writing On the Wall
- Turn the Other Cheek
- The Bitter End, to (until)
- Take As Gospel
More Know Idioms
More Proper Name Idioms
- Nervous Nellie
- Slip Someone a Mickey (Finn)
- Smart Alec
- Life Of Riley
- Hamlet without the Prince
- Adonis, an
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