boarding house reach

boardinghouse reach

A long, awkward reach across a table (and other people) to take food, rather than asking for it to be passed over. It is considered rude in polite company and thus likened to manners one might find in a boarding house. What have I told you about using that boardinghouse reach at the dinner table? Pardon my boardinghouse reach—I'll try not to spill anything on you!
See also: reach

boarding house reach

Table manners in which manners were sacrificed for survival. Most cities and towns had boarding or rooming houses, large private dwellings whose owners took in paying guests who usually stayed for relatively long periods of time. Dinners were served family style, with boarders joining the owners. If you were one of a large number of people, the choicest or largest amounts of food might be gone by the time the platters reached where you were sitting. And so, disregarding the good manners that you learned at home, rather than wait your turn or asking politely, you reached across the table—and often across your neighbors—to grab serving platters. That arm extension was known as a “boarding house reach
See also: board, house, reach
References in periodicals archive ?
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Sink (Associate Professor of English/Communications at High Point University, High Point, North Carolina) and North Carolina realtor Nickie Doyal, "Boarding House Reach: North Carolina's Entrepreneurial Women" provides a unique and informative perspective on North Carolina history as it chronicles the impressive achievements of hard working but hitherto obscure women that through such traumas as death, divorce, or abandonment turned their homes into boarding houses in order to financially support themselves.
"Boarding House Reach," the former White Stripes frontman's first album in four years, veers into funk, electro, gospel and blues as White defiantly demonstrates his range.
On "Boarding House Reach," White offers hints that he knows he will be accused of self-indulgence.