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GUEST,John Kidder Lyr Req: A Bushel and a Peck (Frank Loesser) (42) RE: Lyr Req: A Bushel and a Peck (Frank Loesser) 07 Jan 05

to cueless don:

Just a couple of years late on this thread, but I just came across it today.

A while ago I asked the same question about the origin of the phrase "standing there, gazing at you / with the sheep's eye and the lickerish tooth" in "More I Cannot Wish You" from Guys and Dolls. Did a little research, and here we go:


Roget's Thesaurus: Entry 865 (Desire)
: :

: : Desire. -- N. desire, wish, fancy, fantasy; want, need,
: : exigency.

: : mind, inclination, leaning, bent, animus, partiality, penchant,
: : predilection; propensity &c. 820; willingness &c. 602; liking, love, fondness, relish.

: : thirstiness; drouth,
: : mouthwatering; itch, itching; prurience, cacoethes[Lat], cupidity, lust,
: : concupiscence.

: : edge of appetite, edge of hunger; torment of Tantalus; sweet tooth,
: : lickerish tooth[obs]; itching palm; longing eye, wistful eye, sheep's eye.


found an OED reference to "the holy man had a licorish tooth" from Southey in 1828. What's interesting, as you pursue it, is that lickerish and licorish, which mean a fondness for food (and by extension, other sensual delights) is related to liquorish, an old word meaning a fondness for liquor, which is also related to licorice, also spelled a dozen or more ways, including liquorice, a sweet derived from a liquor made from a plant. All of the above involve a fondness for sweet(ness),


In Reply to: Re: Sheep's eye and licorice tooth posted by Sauerkraut on January 02, 2001 at 00:49:02:

: : In the original Frank Loesser score, the expression is "sheep's eye and the LICKERISH tooth." Loesser eplained how he arrived at it in a letter that's printed in his daughter's fine biography of him, A MOST REMARKABLE FELLA (page 109). The short of it is that he wanted a companion word that meant "covetous", fearing "sheep's eye" did not completely convey the exact thoughts of the guy who would be gazing at her. He went to Roget's and found that "lecherous" was a sort of synonym for covetous, but didn't quite like the way it sounded, so he consulted the Oxford English Dictionary and found that two archaic spellings of "lecherous" were "licorice" and "lickerish." He chose the latter. Voila!

from American Memory collection from the 1840's to 1860's, no date given. Published Boston, Massachusetts by L. Deming.


JUDY leads me such a life, (repeat)
The devil ne'er had such a wife,
What can the matter be?
For if I sing the funny song
Of Dolly put the kettle on,
She's mocking at me all day long;
What can the matter be?

SPOKEN.--Yes, she does lead me a devil of a life, that's certain, for we never walk out on Sunday, but what she makes me walk behind, and carry her parasol and reticule, which makes me look quite ridiculous; and if I happens to cast a SHEEP'S EYE at any of the girls as they pass along, my wife is sure to bawl out,

John Kidder

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