The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #50284   Message #769019
Posted By: John Minear
21-Aug-02 - 07:27 AM
Thread Name: Come to taw?
Subject: RE: Come to taw?
Masato, thanks very much for the OED references. I was hoping somebody could provide that. I keep forgetting to look when I'm at the library. The quotes under the "C" section are especially helpful. The reference from AMERICAN SPEECH (1868) is interesting:

He smiles at all the girls he meets,
And you smile at him on the crowded streets,
Why don't you make him 'come to taw',
I know he wants a mother in law.

I'm glad to get some sense of the age of use of this term, at least back to the beginning of the eighteenth century. And, also, to get some sense of its breadth of use, out to America and Australia. It sounds to me like it means to bring something or somebody back to or up to a beginning or starting point. But it also seems to carry the sense of something "measuring up" or in another colloquial sense, "being up to snuff".

Bob, could you give us some examples of how you've heard this phrase used in sentences. Some context in normal speech, perhaps outside the context of the marbles game. It seems to have originated with the game but to have moved beyond that in common speech. Kat, your reference brings it into the 20th century in America, along with the refs. in the OED, although I'm not sure of the geographical locations for the 20th century ones.