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Origins: 'Skin the Cat' and other family sayings

MaJoC the Filk 08 Jul 22 - 02:04 PM
Doug Chadwick 08 Jul 22 - 12:23 PM
MaJoC the Filk 04 Jul 22 - 08:55 AM
Lighter 04 Jul 22 - 08:27 AM
Joe_F 03 Jul 22 - 08:57 PM
GUEST,Julia L 03 Jul 22 - 08:30 PM
Ebbie 30 Jun 22 - 12:16 AM
Lighter 28 Jun 22 - 07:40 AM
GUEST,Arwen Undómiel's lesser half 27 Jun 22 - 03:42 PM
Ebbie 26 Jun 22 - 01:02 AM
Mr Red 25 Jun 22 - 06:24 AM
Joe_F 24 Jun 22 - 09:52 PM
Lighter 24 Jun 22 - 11:23 AM
GUEST,Pat 23 Jun 22 - 08:16 PM
Thompson 08 Aug 16 - 03:42 PM
clueless don 08 Aug 16 - 09:22 AM
Mr Red 08 Aug 16 - 03:54 AM
GUEST 07 Aug 16 - 09:22 PM
MGM·Lion 14 Mar 16 - 12:51 AM
GUEST,Gustave Kulenkamp 14 Mar 16 - 12:15 AM
GUEST 24 Nov 15 - 08:12 AM
GUEST,silver 24 Nov 15 - 05:25 AM
GUEST 22 Nov 15 - 01:22 AM
GUEST,JTT 26 Aug 15 - 10:14 AM
Jim Carroll 26 Aug 15 - 03:13 AM
GUEST,jack 25 Aug 15 - 10:40 PM
Uncle_DaveO 11 Dec 13 - 09:43 AM
GUEST,Tim 10 Dec 13 - 06:59 PM
GUEST 10 Dec 13 - 05:41 PM
GUEST,Doc John 14 Oct 12 - 12:48 PM
GUEST,Doc John 13 Oct 12 - 12:50 PM
Jack Campin 13 Oct 12 - 11:53 AM
GUEST 13 Oct 12 - 10:09 AM
JennieG 13 May 08 - 08:20 PM
Rowan 13 May 08 - 06:44 PM
GUEST,CrazyEddie 13 May 08 - 09:38 AM
CupOfTea 12 May 08 - 06:20 PM
GUEST,.gargoyle 12 May 08 - 06:19 AM
Rowan 11 May 08 - 11:18 PM
Rumncoke 11 May 08 - 10:11 PM
GUEST,Desi 11 May 08 - 09:30 PM
GUEST,QB 11 May 08 - 09:04 PM
GUEST,Joseph de Culver City 16 Apr 08 - 11:37 AM
Rowan 15 Apr 08 - 07:48 PM
GUEST,Chicken Charlie 10 Apr 08 - 10:02 AM
Flash Company 10 Apr 08 - 09:50 AM
SouthernCelt 10 Apr 08 - 09:17 AM
Mo the caller 10 Apr 08 - 06:13 AM
JennieG 10 Apr 08 - 03:59 AM
The Walrus 09 Apr 08 - 09:17 PM
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Subject: RE: Origins: 'Skin the Cat' and other family sayings
From: MaJoC the Filk
Date: 08 Jul 22 - 02:04 PM

> "all insulation and no wire"

A true story: Naughty persons in certain areas got into the habit of pulling cables out of the road (with the aid of a hefty car), in order to sell the copper for scrap; not only did this take out phones, but also on many occasions the TV and Internet feeds. Doing this seemed to stop after two occasions when the offenders found that they'd pulled out was fibre optic cable, which is expensive, but has no copper in it.

It's only just occurred to me that the quoted expression could apply both to said cable, and to said offenders' brains.


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Subject: RE: Origins: 'Skin the Cat' and other family sayings
From: Doug Chadwick
Date: 08 Jul 22 - 12:23 PM

"You may be a pain, but I can't see thru you."
(said to someone who is blocking you view)


You make a better door than you do, a window.

DC


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Subject: RE: Origins: 'Skin the Cat' and other family sayings
From: MaJoC the Filk
Date: 04 Jul 22 - 08:55 AM

> "Your mother wears combat boots!"

Son of a gun .... ?


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Subject: RE: Origins: 'Skin the Cat' and other family sayings
From: Lighter
Date: 04 Jul 22 - 08:27 AM

Kids in the '50s: "Your mother wears combat boots!"

Evidently inspired by the "dozens."


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Subject: RE: Origins: 'Skin the Cat' and other family sayings
From: Joe_F
Date: 03 Jul 22 - 08:57 PM

"You may be a pain, but I can't see thru you."
(said to someone who is blocking you view)


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Subject: RE: Origins: 'Skin the Cat' and other family sayings
From: GUEST,Julia L
Date: 03 Jul 22 - 08:30 PM

"Not enough room to swing a cat" refers to flogging withthe whip or "cat o'nine tails" onboard ship.

My uncle used to say a stupid person was "Numb-er than a hake!"


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Subject: RE: Origins: 'Skin the Cat' and other family sayings
From: Ebbie
Date: 30 Jun 22 - 12:16 AM

Thanks, Lighter. I hadn't heard it before but it sounded like an old line.

Same with 'Just wind and water.' sounds like an old saying.


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Subject: RE: Origins: 'Skin the Cat' and other family sayings
From: Lighter
Date: 28 Jun 22 - 07:40 AM

I recall Ebbie's first two from my'50s childhood.


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Subject: RE: Origins: 'Skin the Cat' and other family sayings
From: GUEST,Arwen Undómiel's lesser half
Date: 27 Jun 22 - 03:42 PM

Yeaternight durning a tender embrace I said

You sure put up with a lot for not very much


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Subject: RE: Origins: 'Skin the Cat' and other family sayings
From: Ebbie
Date: 26 Jun 22 - 01:02 AM

I once asked an elderly friend whom I met walking down the hall: Hi! How are you?
Trundling along with her walker, she responded: Well enough to sit up and take nourishment.

I and my brothers used to taunt each other: He thinks he's a wit- and he's half right.

I asked an elderly friend whom I had escorted to the bathroom: Did you have a BM? She said cheerfully, Nope. Just wind and water.

And one I expect to see one day is one that came out of my own mouth, leaving me and my listener awe struck: If he were dead, he'd be rolling in his grave. (Huh?)


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Subject: RE: Origins: 'Skin the Cat' and other family sayings
From: Mr Red
Date: 25 Jun 22 - 06:24 AM

"all insulation and no wire".

I made the connection




I'll get my electricians' screwdriver


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Subject: RE: Origins: 'Skin the Cat' and other family sayings
From: Joe_F
Date: 24 Jun 22 - 09:52 PM

A friend of mine once interpreted "fathead" as myelin-brain. I immediately translated that as "all insulation and no wire".


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Subject: RE: Origins: 'Skin the Cat' and other family sayings
From: Lighter
Date: 24 Jun 22 - 11:23 AM

"Ain't no way in West Hell." Louisiana.

In 1938 Floridian Zora Neale Hurston defined "West Hell" as the "hottest and toughest part of Hell."


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Subject: RE: Origins: 'Skin the Cat' and other family sayings
From: GUEST,Pat
Date: 23 Jun 22 - 08:16 PM

I’m 57 and I just through out a skinny cat at my grandson as I pulled his shirt over his head. My daughter and my wife looked at me like I was nuts. My explanation of skin the cat was exactly as this thread started and the search led right to here. I’m not crazy and apparently neither was my mother.


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Subject: RE: Origins: 'Skin the Cat' and other family sayings
From: Thompson
Date: 08 Aug 16 - 03:42 PM

'Light on his/her feet' here (Ireland) means more or less literally what it says: to be wiry and fast-moving.


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Subject: RE: Origins: 'Skin the Cat' and other family sayings
From: clueless don
Date: 08 Aug 16 - 09:22 AM

"all gravy and no meat" reminds me of a friend who described his cat as "all fluff and no stuff".


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Subject: RE: Origins: 'Skin the Cat' and other family sayings
From: Mr Red
Date: 08 Aug 16 - 03:54 AM

in my day, children who could not sit still were accused of having: ants in their pants

A girlfriend used to say (advising to ignore the insult (eg)): take a lot of 'no never'
she, on communal searching for an object: there it is! Gone. Inevitably we would be hoping (for a second) she had spotted it.


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Subject: RE: Origins: 'Skin the Cat' and other family sayings
From: GUEST
Date: 07 Aug 16 - 09:22 PM

My grand mother would say this every time she pulled anything off over our heads like a tee-shirt or our pajamas . Tennessee


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Subject: RE: Origins: 'Skin the Cat' and other family sayings
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 14 Mar 16 - 12:51 AM

Re "all gravy and no meat" cited just above -- there are lots of lovely variants of this formula. I have previously had published in Nigel Rees's "Quote-Unquote" bulletin one of my favourite of these --

"All hat and no cattle".

≈M≈


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Subject: RE: Origins: 'Skin the Cat' and other family sayings
From: GUEST,Gustave Kulenkamp
Date: 14 Mar 16 - 12:15 AM

Grinning like a goat eating quinces was my old granny Bini's favourite sayings


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Subject: RE: Origins: 'Skin the Cat' and other family sayings
From: GUEST
Date: 24 Nov 15 - 08:12 AM

She's got legs like an all night chemist

He's all gravy and no meat.

After a pint he's ex army, after four he's ex SAS

Many of the much older men when I was an apprentice would delight in getting one of us to ask what sort of dog he had. "A wooden 'un wi' a tin prick!" Then they'd all fall about laughing.


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Subject: RE: Origins: 'Skin the Cat' and other family sayings
From: GUEST,silver
Date: 24 Nov 15 - 05:25 AM

An old and very dear American friend wrote in a letter recently that he is "getting lighter on his feet". Wonder what he meant? Losing weight? Or property? Or gaining strength? (He is recovering from surgery.)
In my native language, "light on one's feet" (usually said of a woman and not PC these days) means "of loose morals". I don't think it applies to this gentleman at all.


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Subject: RE: Origins: 'Skin the Cat' and other family sayings
From: GUEST
Date: 22 Nov 15 - 01:22 AM

Cuter than a spotted pup.
Handier than a pocket on a shirt.
I ain't had so much fun since the hogs ate my baby brother.
You can't make a silk purse out of a sow's ear.
Colder than a witch's tit in a brass bra.
Hotter than a fresh-(blanked) fox in a forest fire. Sometimes its a half-(blanked) fox...
That idea or plan is half-baked.


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Subject: RE: Origins: 'Skin the Cat' and other family sayings
From: GUEST,JTT
Date: 26 Aug 15 - 10:14 AM

Thick as a kish of brogues here, though why a basket of shoes should be thick I don't know.

Skin the cat was always this when I was growing up

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Np_s2fnYjso

though on a pole, not rings. My family swears I could do this before I could walk, but I was a *very* skinny baby.

Google tells me that the etymology of zoot suit is a joke formation of 'zoot' from 'suit' - presumably the same for 'reet' and 'right', ie exact, tidy.


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Subject: RE: Origins: 'Skin the Cat' and other family sayings
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 26 Aug 15 - 03:13 AM

My mother was full of pithy, sometimes bawdy sayings such as, when I tried to make a feeble excuse for something I'd done wrong;
"You're full of wind and pee, like the barber's cat".
When I first tried my hand at singing, she told me amusedly, "If you were singing for shit, you wouldn't get the smell of it"
I always liked the various responses to the question, "what's for diner" when I was growing up in Liverpool - a particularfavourite was "Cow's cock and hairy bacon".
Or describing a short person, "He'd have to stand on tuppence to look over thruppence".
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Origins: 'Skin the Cat' and other family sayings
From: GUEST,jack
Date: 25 Aug 15 - 10:40 PM

my mother always said "skin a cat" to us when removing our t-shirts as small children. we, too, would call it "skinny cat". mom was born in texas, grew up in kansas and told us this in california


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Subject: RE: Origins: 'Skin the Cat' and other family sayings
From: Uncle_DaveO
Date: 11 Dec 13 - 09:43 AM

Of a brutally plain-spoken person: "He's not afraid to call a spade a dirty damned shovel!"

Someone asks me, "How are you this morning?" I answer,
"Oh, I think I'll last at least as long as lunch!" I'll often add, "That's called limited objectives."

Dave Oesterreich


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Subject: RE: Origins: 'Skin the Cat' and other family sayings
From: GUEST,Tim
Date: 10 Dec 13 - 06:59 PM

You don't skin a cat, you swing it. And it is not a feline animal. It is a cat o'nine tails, a horrible nine-tailed whip used to punish sailors and leave their backs bleeding. This was done in the open air, for below deck there would not have been room to swing the cat, and in any case the rest of the crew were required to witness the punishment.
This origin of the phrase has been questioned, but it is the only explanation that convinces.


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Subject: RE: Origins: 'Skin the Cat' and other family sayings
From: GUEST
Date: 10 Dec 13 - 05:41 PM

My Nana used to say it when she was taking off our shirts before bath time and also said it so fast it sounded more like "skinny cat".


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Subject: RE: Origins: 'Skin the Cat' and other family sayings
From: GUEST,Doc John
Date: 14 Oct 12 - 12:48 PM

...will now answer his own query. Obviously a guy who drives a bulldozer, which runs on caterpillar tracks c.f. muleskinner. Good old Wikipedia.
Still don't know about pigmeat however.


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Subject: RE: Origins: 'Skin the Cat' and other family sayings
From: GUEST,Doc John
Date: 13 Oct 12 - 12:50 PM

In Woody Guthrie and Cisco Houston's 'Farmer Labour Train' they sing '...the guys who skin the cats....' Surely not cat skinners. Any ideas?


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Subject: RE: Origins: 'Skin the Cat' and other family sayings
From: Jack Campin
Date: 13 Oct 12 - 11:53 AM

I have actually seen this object:

Cat skinning trough

The page has more detail about how to do it than I really needed to know.


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Subject: RE: Origins: 'Skin the Cat' and other family sayings
From: GUEST
Date: 13 Oct 12 - 10:09 AM

Hi There
I was just doing one of those random google searches and have come across this thread. I just thought that I should let you know that Eileen Vaughan (nee Cattanach)from Heidelberg is well and truly alive and giving me a run for my money as far as social life goes. She's 96 years old and doing amazing. What is beautiful is that you remember her gorgeous little sayings - she has a number of them. Thanks for remembering her, but she is still alive.
Cheers
Lou (grand daughter of the beautiful Eileen Vaughan)


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Subject: RE: Origins: 'Skin the Cat' and other family sayings
From: JennieG
Date: 13 May 08 - 08:20 PM

Rowan, a friend of mine used the term "APC" for a lick and a promise, it was a term her mother used - stands for "armpits and crotch", meaning a very quick wash with a tiny amound of water!

Cheers
JennieG


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Subject: RE: Origins: 'Skin the Cat' and other family sayin
From: Rowan
Date: 13 May 08 - 06:44 PM

Not involving a monkey but similar;

"I see 't all, said the blind man, when he couldn't really see 't all." was a common expression in my family when there was doubt or confusion. In case this doesn't easily translate across various ponds, lakes, ditches etc, the complete sentence would be written as "I see it all, said the blind man, when he couldn't really see at all."

Cheers, Rowan


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Subject: RE: Origins: 'Skin the Cat' and other family sayings
From: GUEST,CrazyEddie
Date: 13 May 08 - 09:38 AM

Anyone else have a philosophical monkey quoted to them?

If you complained about something:
"Hard lines! (as the monkey said when he sat on the railway)"

In response to impatient kids:(When! How soon! etc.)
"'Twon't be long now. (as the monkey said when he cut off his tail)"

When we asked Mum to find something, and it was in plain sight all along: "If 'twas a dog, 'twould bite you".


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Subject: RE: Origins: 'Skin the Cat' and other family sayings
From: CupOfTea
Date: 12 May 08 - 06:20 PM

I was raised on poetry and platitudes, and a wealth of family sayings. Most came from my aunt's side & some Pennsylvania Deutch from my uncle's ("Cooking lasts, kissin' don't" - courting advice), with some Irishisms thrown in for good measure. Most of it was common usage in the eastern midwest: Ohio.

"Skinning the cat" was a monkey bars dismount- never heard it for peeling off an article of clothing. The inquiry "cat got your tongue?" was for a child who didn't have a thing to say - particularly when being asked to explain a misdeed. Some Victorian hangovers I heard often "Children should be seen and not heard" and, to caution another adult that there was a child in earshot: "Little pitchers have big ears" I never did get where that one came from, or what the pitchers were that had ears, but it was understandable in context, unlike "Handsome is as handsome does" which remains inexplicable even now. "Not someone you could take home on a dry Sunday" meant your family woudln't approve & implied your relatives had to be inebriated to appreciate that person's charms. I don't know if that goes back to the Prohibition era, or just the blue laws. (no booze sold on Sundays)

"Like taking coals to Newcastle" - for providing a redundant object or doing an unnecessary task. "(Going, doing, using) the whole nine yards" - for doing something completely. In art school I came to understand this originated from a whole bolt of cloth being 9 yards for a goodly number of years. Using it all up was a good thing, as opposed to "Going whole-hog" which had some negative connotations of overdoing something. Then if you were going to do a silly thing anyhow, you "Might as well be hung for a sheep as a lamb." An encouragement for "stick-to-it-iveness" was "It's dogged as does it," a phrase I used as a screen saver for years.

The euphemisms for crazy were endless, creative and common:"one brick shy of a load" "doesn't have both oars in the water" "elevator doesn't go to the top floor" or even for not too smart "not the brightest bulb in the marquee" "Wouldn't know a dog if it bit her"

We had a number of catchphrases we used around the house that evolved from specific events. "Couldn't see to get the blood off the wall" was the last line of a long droning story an elderly neighbor told - and none of us had been paying attention to the windup to this astonishing comment. Ever after it was used as a prompt to make sure someone was paying attention to what you were saying.


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Subject: RE: Origins: 'Skin the Cat' and other family sayin
From: GUEST,.gargoyle
Date: 12 May 08 - 06:19 AM

I can guess the name of the clone on last night's throne.

My references/details to specific games was removed.

Sincerely,
Gargoyle


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Subject: RE: Origins: 'Skin the Cat' and other family sayin
From: Rowan
Date: 11 May 08 - 11:18 PM

My mum said that it meant that the washer had just given it a fast wipe over and promised to do more next time.

This was also the meaning behind my mother's comment "The tide's out!" Used whenever hands were washed only as far as the wrist, when up to the elbow would have been more appropriate.

"The tide's out!" was also used if the beer had too much head (and not enough beer) in the glass, or if the coffee was more than 3/16" below the rim when served across the counter. These weren't used to Mum though.

Cheers, Rowan


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Subject: RE: Origins: 'Skin the Cat' and other family sayings
From: Rumncoke
Date: 11 May 08 - 10:11 PM

My mother's mother used to say 'you've made a lick and a promise' or 'you've given that neck a lick and a promise' to mean that efforts at cleaning had not been vigorous enough.

My mum said that it meant that the washer had just given it a fast wipe over and promised to do more next time.


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Subject: RE: Origins: 'Skin the Cat' and other family sayin
From: GUEST,Desi
Date: 11 May 08 - 09:30 PM

o.o ^_^ oo cool fun lol here are some fun and funny things my family say alot lol some i know some are kinna just been passed down and around our whole family lol maybe you know some of them too ^_^
"your mom"
"An yo mama!"
"Chraming darling just charming"
"Wow thats so very mellon"
"hmmm intoxicating"
"i smack ya!"
" dont make me smack that"
"i bet u wanna"
"try me i dare ya"
"wanna meet me outside then?"
"continue.... yes, yes, blah, blah ,ect, ect, ect we done now?"
"if i want to say something i will"
"oh dear i am all a quiver"
"Why do you wanna leave me?"
"myo? say wah the huh now?"
" your on Kp"
" wow she's walking on moonbeams"
"ones on cloud 9 the other is on cloud 911 HELP!"
and then " your burning daylight"


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Subject: RE: Origins: 'Skin the Cat' and other family sayin
From: GUEST,QB
Date: 11 May 08 - 09:04 PM

I dont know if these are family sayings or not but my uncle and my grand folks and my dad and some of my family will say these things alot and i dont know what some of them mean lol

"oh why dont you go run up a ally and holler fish?" sometimes when someone is frustrated at what people are saying or doing

"smart like a furless cat in the snow" lol this i geuss just means stupid

"colder then a well digers ass" umm dunno

"thank you for loveing me?" haha i dunno

"Yes/What Randy?" now this one we all say and i am stumped now that i tihnk about it

"Shut up the wild wine cat!" grandparents say this i have no clue why

and last but not least "Kill that holler child"


From QB


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Subject: RE: Origins: 'Skin the Cat' and other family sayings
From: GUEST,Joseph de Culver City
Date: 16 Apr 08 - 11:37 AM

I had a friend who grew up in rural Kentucky who used to say 'slick as deer guts on a doorknob'. I thought that expression was peculiar to his family until I heard the same phrase on an LP by The Dillards.


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Subject: RE: Origins: 'Skin the Cat' and other family sayin
From: Rowan
Date: 15 Apr 08 - 07:48 PM

Over the weekend I found myself using another from my family. When you 'know' about someone but have never met them and couldn't recognise them, the phrase
"I wouldn't know 'em from a bar of soap!"
was used when I was a child. At around the time I went to uni, I started hearing the alternativ
"I wouldn't know her/him if s/he stood up in my soup!"

Soap sold by the length (a bar, about 12" long) was being replaced by the much less working class "cake" (often packaged separately as 1 cake/package) at around that time.

Cheers, Rowan


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Subject: RE: Origins: 'Skin the Cat' and other family sayings
From: GUEST,Chicken Charlie
Date: 10 Apr 08 - 10:02 AM

I live in a Universe where every so often, seemingly unconnected things connect. In a totally 'other' context, I just learned that Desiderius Erasmus edited a book originally (16th century) called "Adagia," "Adages," containing, in successive editions, first 800, then 1000 and finally over 4500 pithy sayings he had gathered from his voracious reading. With this thread in mind, I thought it might be a kick to see if any of those we've been tossing around appear in it. There would seem to be several contemporary editions--one title is "The 'Adages' of Erasmus." Don't know if I'll have time to track it down this week, so if anyone has more time & sufficient interest, well, there it is. Who knows, maybe Gutenberg Project or whatever it's called has it on line by now?

CC


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Subject: RE: Origins: 'Skin the Cat' and other family sayin
From: Flash Company
Date: 10 Apr 08 - 09:50 AM

Another one came to mind:
What time is it?
Half past your pocket! (with the added threat, if you were really out of favour, 'When it gets to your bum it'll strike!'

FC


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Subject: RE: Origins: 'Skin the Cat' and other family sayings
From: SouthernCelt
Date: 10 Apr 08 - 09:17 AM

My first husband, who came from a small town 100 miles north of my home town, used expressions I had never heard of such as "grinning like a goat chewing a quince", "grinning like a cat shitting razor blades" (very self explanatory!)

Reminds me of a "grinning like..." saying from South Mississippi: "Grinning like a mule eating briars." If you've ever seen a farm animal eating something with thorns or sharp, stiff stalks, they'll often chew with their mouths partially open in sort a sardonic or insincere-appearing "smile" to reduce irritation so the saying makes sense.

SC


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Subject: RE: Origins: 'Skin the Cat' and other family sayings
From: Mo the caller
Date: 10 Apr 08 - 06:13 AM

Thank you Bryan for reminding me. My mother used to say "there and back to see how far it is" too. (we lived in London).

We were driving past a circus last night, and out come my younger daughters saying (now used in various contexts) "He wasn't a real clown, it was just somebody dressed up"......????


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Subject: RE: Origins: 'Skin the Cat' and other family sayings
From: JennieG
Date: 10 Apr 08 - 03:59 AM

And there is the description I remember from my childhood of an unattractive woman (at least in the eyes of the beholder) - "she's as ugly as a hat full of arseholes".

My first husband, who came from a small town 100 miles north of my home town, used expressions I had never heard of such as "grinning like a goat chewing a quince", "grinning like a cat shitting razor blades" (very self explanatory!), so-and-so was said to be as slow as "an old gin (Aboriginal woman) handing out Bibles at a christening" - very non-PC these days. And something unusual was said to be "as rare as rocking horse poop".

I guess it is pretty rare.

Cheers
JennieG


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Subject: RE: Origins: 'Skin the Cat' and other family sayings
From: The Walrus
Date: 09 Apr 08 - 09:17 PM

My late Father would sometimes refer to a tight fisted or grasping person as willing to "skin a turd for a ha'penny"


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Mudcat time: 11 August 11:29 AM EDT

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