A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

Recent entries:
Entry forthcoming—B.P. (9/22)
“‘A fraction of the cost’ is misleading as hypothetically, something could be 3/2 of the cost” (9/22)
Entry forthcoming—B.P. (9/22)
Entry forthcoming—B.P. (9/22)
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Entry from August 04, 2013
“Tighter than the skin on a grape”

"Tighter than the skin on a grape” means very tight, such as someone tight with money or a tight sporting contest. “Tighter than the skin on a grape” has been cited in print since at least 1954. It’s not known who came up with the food expression.


Google Books
Festivals Europe
By Robert Meyer
New York, NY: Washburn
1954
Pg. 140:
Holidays It is important that visitors to Great Britain know the Bank Holidays there because on those days everything closes up tighter than the skin on a grape.

9 May 1954, Independent Press-Telegram (Long Beach, CA), “Wild Waves Are Saying” by Iola Masterson, pg. D-3, col. 2:
Sassy, our boys have that Junior Class sewed up tighter than the skin on a grape, don’t they?

19 February 1955, Los Angeles (CA) Times, “Cronin’s Corner” by Ned Cronin, pg. B3:
It was tighter than the skin on a grape.

19 April 1955, Los Angeles (CA) Times, “Cronin’s Corner” by Ned Cronin, pg. C3:
Bayer has this department locked up tighter than the skin on a grape.

Google News Archive
20 March 1964, Spokane (WA) Daily Chronicle/I>, “‘West Virginia ‘Bricktop’ Blows Out Roman Candle” by Robert C. Ruark, pg. 4, col. 8:
But she was business to the core, which is to say that in her club she was tighter than the skin on a grape.

Google Books
Happiness
By Ann Harleman
Ames, IA: University of Iowa Press
1994
Pg. 36:
“Tighter than skin on a grape — that was my ex. Took me for everything I had.”

Google Books
Circus of the Damned
By Laurell K. Hamilton
New York, NY: The Berkley Publishing Group
1995
Pg. 31:
Jeans no tighter than the skin on a grape showed slender hips.

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityFood/Drink • Sunday, August 04, 2013 • Permalink