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where does the phrase "drop a clanger" come from?

asked in phrase, origin, english

jacquesdor answers:

This is only a theory and I have nothing to back it up but I believe it came from bell ringing. If a ringer dropped a clanger he would hit a wrong note.

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seacommander answers:

The origin of this phrase is certainly very obscure for one so ingrained in English idiomatic language and frequently used. I have come across several explanations ranging from a workshop based origin where somebody may have dropped a heavy tool or piece of equipment which made a resounding clang.

This phrase may have originated around the time of World War II, however, it may have been earlier.


Yet another more domestic suggestion:

‘Just another snippet of interest – this is where the phrase ‘Dropped a clanger’ came from. A clanger was a pastry parcel with meat and veg at one end and jam at the other and a wide crust as the handle. It was called a clanger. If it was dropped the meat and veg would get muddled up with the jam – a mess. Hence the phrase dropping a clanger – meaning making a faux pas or embarressing mistake’


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