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It's been a current phrase for as long as I can remember.

The zestier British alternative might be "to get the sack." (I have no idea what the sack is in a literal sense.)

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Mon Jul 6th, 2015 at 07:56:17 PM EST
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Get the sack - meaning and origin.

The probable derivation of this phrase is an allusion to tradesmen, who owned their own tools and took them with them in a bag or sack when they were dismissed from employment.

It has been known in France since the 17th century, as 'On luy a donné son sac'. The first recorded English version is in Charles Westmacott's The English Spy, 1825:

"You munna split on me, or I shall get the zack for telling on ye."

In his 1869 'Slang Dictionary', John Hotten records these alternatives - 'get the bag' (from the North of England) and 'get the empty' (from London).

It is on the internet, so it must be true.

by fjallstrom on Tue Jul 7th, 2015 at 05:34:07 AM EST
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