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Help: What is a tarrier

DigiTrad:
DRILL YE TARRIERS DRILL


Related thread:
(origins) Origins: Drill, Ye Tarriers, Drill (1888) (20)


GUEST,Mark 03 Feb 00 - 01:01 PM
Amos 03 Feb 00 - 01:14 PM
MMario 03 Feb 00 - 01:24 PM
Dan Evergreen 03 Feb 00 - 01:56 PM
Amos 03 Feb 00 - 02:02 PM
Metchosin 03 Feb 00 - 02:17 PM
Metchosin 03 Feb 00 - 02:19 PM
Metchosin 03 Feb 00 - 02:27 PM
MMario 03 Feb 00 - 02:30 PM
Metchosin 03 Feb 00 - 02:46 PM
Metchosin 03 Feb 00 - 03:08 PM
Amos 03 Feb 00 - 03:14 PM
MMario 03 Feb 00 - 03:29 PM
Dan Evergreen 03 Feb 00 - 05:28 PM
Amos 03 Feb 00 - 05:33 PM
Jacob B 03 Feb 00 - 05:45 PM
Metchosin 03 Feb 00 - 07:07 PM
BobLusk 03 Feb 00 - 07:14 PM
Snuffy 03 Feb 00 - 07:23 PM
GUEST,Jim 03 Feb 00 - 07:52 PM
Amos 03 Feb 00 - 08:01 PM
canoer 04 Feb 00 - 02:53 AM
Sourdough 04 Feb 00 - 03:15 AM
Brendy 04 Feb 00 - 03:26 AM
Metchosin 04 Feb 00 - 12:41 PM
Amos 04 Feb 00 - 12:49 PM
Metchosin 04 Feb 00 - 12:52 PM
Amos 04 Feb 00 - 12:59 PM
GUEST,Mark 04 Feb 00 - 01:16 PM
Jacob B 04 Feb 00 - 01:48 PM
Margo 04 Feb 00 - 02:06 PM
Amos 04 Feb 00 - 02:14 PM
Metchosin 04 Feb 00 - 02:22 PM
Margo 04 Feb 00 - 06:01 PM
Jon W. 04 Feb 00 - 07:27 PM
Sandy Paton 04 Feb 00 - 07:42 PM
Sandy Paton 04 Feb 00 - 09:18 PM
Banjer 04 Feb 00 - 09:18 PM
Metchosin 04 Feb 00 - 09:36 PM
Banjer 05 Feb 00 - 08:30 AM
GUEST,Frank Hamilton 05 Feb 00 - 09:09 AM
Metchosin 05 Feb 00 - 01:01 PM
Metchosin 05 Feb 00 - 01:10 PM
GUEST,Stahnman 07 Feb 02 - 11:58 AM
Gareth 07 Feb 02 - 02:09 PM
gnu 07 Feb 02 - 03:04 PM
RichM 07 Feb 02 - 04:31 PM
Susan of DT 09 Feb 02 - 02:44 PM
Deckman 09 Feb 02 - 11:39 PM
Dicho (Frank Staplin) 09 Feb 02 - 11:55 PM
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Subject: What is a tarrier
From: GUEST,Mark
Date: 03 Feb 00 - 01:01 PM

In the song 'Drill ye tarriers drill', what exactly is or was a tarrier. The word does not appear in any of my dictionaries. Can anyone help?


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Subject: RE: Help: What is a tarrier
From: Amos
Date: 03 Feb 00 - 01:14 PM

I always thought it was a slang term for the men who worked the hammers and drills used for siting the dynamite to blow tunnels through mountains. But that may be imagination.



The OED provides a historical defintion of "terrier" as a collection of acknowledgements of vassals or tenants of a lordship. So we might have a derivation, since many of the Irish who worked the railroads escaped from that kind of vassalage by emigrating. Also, a member of the British territorial Army. Speculation. Anyone have anything more solid??

A


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Subject: RE: Help: What is a tarrier
From: MMario
Date: 03 Feb 00 - 01:24 PM

I could see "terrier" which could easily become "tarrier" in pronunciation, transfer from "collectin of vassels or tenants" to "work gang"


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Subject: RE: Help: What is a tarrier
From: Dan Evergreen
Date: 03 Feb 00 - 01:56 PM

Someone who slops tar on a roof? But then I quess it would be slop you tarriers, slop, so disregard this.


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Subject: RE: Help: What is a tarrier
From: Amos
Date: 03 Feb 00 - 02:02 PM

And the boss comes aroun' and he says "Don't stop!"
And come down fast with yer hot tar mop!
And slop ye tarriers slop!

Gee, somehow its not the same.

A


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Subject: RE: Help: What is a tarrier
From: Metchosin
Date: 03 Feb 00 - 02:17 PM

could also be a tie in to the word "terrier" which means "earth dog" from the French


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Subject: RE: Help: What is a tarrier
From: Metchosin
Date: 03 Feb 00 - 02:19 PM

the little buggers are renowned for digging for their prey, I know, I have one.


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Subject: RE: Help: What is a tarrier
From: Metchosin
Date: 03 Feb 00 - 02:27 PM

My dictionary definition: A boring instrument, an auger, now an instrument for extacting a bung from a barrel. Gee they all fit.


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Subject: RE: Help: What is a tarrier
From: MMario
Date: 03 Feb 00 - 02:30 PM

Metchosin....was your definition "tarrier" or "terrier" just curious....


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Subject: RE: Help: What is a tarrier
From: Metchosin
Date: 03 Feb 00 - 02:46 PM

tarrier


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Subject: RE: Help: What is a tarrier
From: Metchosin
Date: 03 Feb 00 - 03:08 PM

Don't know if it's Websters or not, the front and back covers are missing, its a big one though, like the one in the school library, on the pedestal, where you looked for naughty words when you were small. Love it.


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Subject: RE: Help: What is a tarrier
From: Amos
Date: 03 Feb 00 - 03:14 PM

There's a scene in a Stephen Crane story in which a bunch of poor men are crowding around the door of a charity house in the snow waiting for it to open, and stepping on each other to get closer to the door; in it one curses at another and says

"Git off me feet, yeh clumsy tarrier!"

"Say, don't stand on me feet! Walk on th' ground!"

Combined with the definition as an augur or boring instrument and the fact that they did work near blasting (based on the premature blast verse in the song) I suspect I was right -- they drilled the long narrow holes that got filled with dynamite to blast away rock from the face of a tunnel.

And they were clearly not highly thought of, from the context of Crane's usage.

A


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Subject: RE: Help: What is a tarrier
From: MMario
Date: 03 Feb 00 - 03:29 PM

so THAT'S where my granmother's scrabble dictionary went!


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Subject: RE: Help: What is a tarrier
From: Dan Evergreen
Date: 03 Feb 00 - 05:28 PM

These days blasters are always gypsies, so there might be a tie in to "Gypsy Rover."


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Subject: RE: Help: What is a tarrier
From: Amos
Date: 03 Feb 00 - 05:33 PM

Like...the gypsy rover went up in the air
And splattered the valley all over...???

A


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Subject: RE: Help: What is a tarrier
From: Jacob B
Date: 03 Feb 00 - 05:45 PM

In third or fourth grade the teacher discussed different occupations, and we all raised our hands and named different occupations that we could think of. You can imagine how confused she looked when I said "tarrier". She asked me what it was, but all I could tell her was that I had heard it in a song.

Years later, it occurred to me to look up the word in the dictionary, and I discovered it wasn't there. I decided that it must be a noun form taken from the verb 'to tarry', and that calling the workers tarriers was the same as calling them laggards or slackers.

The Stephen Crane quote seems to destroy that theory.


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Subject: RE: Help: What is a tarrier
From: Metchosin
Date: 03 Feb 00 - 07:07 PM

Jacob, my dictionary, not your grandmother's MMario, also defines the word tarrier as a lingerer or one who tarries or delays, so you are correct. However, I wouldn't be surprised if there was some double entendre going on there and I'm leaning towards tarriers as being bung removers also.

MMario, come to think of it, my husband did get this book as a present for me, from a thrift store, so ya never know.


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Subject: RE: Help: What is a tarrier
From: BobLusk
Date: 03 Feb 00 - 07:14 PM

I heard that they never tarried long in one place - The railroad workers moved from town to town.

Bob


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Subject: RE: Help: What is a tarrier
From: Snuffy
Date: 03 Feb 00 - 07:23 PM

From the Shorter Oxford English Dictionary:
Tarrier1460. (of Gaulish origin, cf French tarière, Irish tarathar). A boring instrument, an auger; now, an instrument for extracting a bung from a barrel.
How many 'Catters play tarriers (or tarathars), then!?

Wassail

V


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Subject: RE: Help: What is a tarrier
From: GUEST,Jim
Date: 03 Feb 00 - 07:52 PM

Maybe it's "tarries" as in "hangin' around" instead of workin' yr butt off for the monopolistic railroad cleptocrats.


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Subject: RE: Help: What is a tarrier
From: Amos
Date: 03 Feb 00 - 08:01 PM

But, you will recall, they are told to "kape still" and "come down heavy on the cast-iron drill".

The only way I can interpret this is that the drill, itself similar to a tarrier-borer, or bung augur, would be turned and then braced by an assistant and pounded in by a sledge hammer to take out the next bit of the hole.

The tarrier was probably the drill holder, and he would have to be keeping it still when the hammer came down. Then he would crank it in a tiny bit for the next blow.

Fourteen of them drilling on the rock at once, all being hammered down and ordered about by a foreman must have been a bustling, noisy scene indeed --especially when the blasts went off. Man, the raw effort that went into a scene like that is mind boggling by todays standards, where Daisy-Ettas do all the work.

A


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Subject: RE: Help: What is a tarrier
From: canoer
Date: 04 Feb 00 - 02:53 AM

OK, what's a Daisy-Etta? Any relation to the chunnel-boring machines?


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Subject: RE: Help: What is a tarrier
From: Sourdough
Date: 04 Feb 00 - 03:15 AM

The OED says: "tarrier, obs. or vulgar form of terrier (dog)."

I don't know what a Daisy-Etta is but I have some photographs taken at the tunneling of the intake at Parker Dam for the Los Angeles Aqueduct and then for the Diversion Tunnels at Boulder Dam. They show these big drilling platforms in which pneumatic drills are placed in cradles and the whole thing moves up to the rock face so that some number like sixteen miners are at work simultaneously drilling the blast holes. That, too, must have been a hell of a scene. I know at Boulder, the temperature in there used to get up to 110, the air was filled with dust and men collapsed from heat prostration. Some died. No wonder the IWW took hold there.

Sourdough


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Subject: RE: Help: What is a tarrier
From: Brendy
Date: 04 Feb 00 - 03:26 AM

I always understood a 'tarrier' in songs to mean a lazy individual, one who wouldn't work. To 'tarry' as in

Let him go, let him tarry
Let him sink or let him swim.
He doesn't care for me,
Nor I don't care for him.
He can go and find another
and I hope he will enjoy,
For I'm going to marry a far nicer boy.

means to wait. I'm almost certain about this definition, so it's up to youse.
B.


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Subject: RE: Help: What is a tarrier
From: Metchosin
Date: 04 Feb 00 - 12:41 PM

Thank you people. I now know that my beloved dictionary is The Oxford English Dictionary, Complete and Unabridged..... but I still don't know what a Daisy-Etta is either.


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Subject: RE: Help: What is a tarrier
From: Amos
Date: 04 Feb 00 - 12:49 PM

Daisy Etta is slang for the big Caterpillar earth movers properly known as "DC-8" (Diesel Caterpillar Model 8). They say DC 8 in large letters on the side. A Hispanic driver referred to his as "Daisy Etta", and the name got immortalized in a short story somewhere, lost in my decrepit doughnut-based memory banks.

A


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Subject: RE: Help: What is a tarrier
From: Metchosin
Date: 04 Feb 00 - 12:52 PM

Thank you Amos, you're better than my Oxford and fast becoming as much beloved.


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Subject: RE: Help: What is a tarrier
From: Amos
Date: 04 Feb 00 - 12:59 PM

Aww....shucks, ah'z jus' dooin whut ah thot wuz raht...(shuffle, shuffle).

Thanks, Metchosin!

A


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Subject: RE: Help: What is a tarrier
From: GUEST,Mark
Date: 04 Feb 00 - 01:16 PM

Many thanks for your help, guys. I'm impressed with the speed at which you have created 28 replies to my little cry for help - I didn't really think anyone would be interested - and I'm especially impressed with Amos's encyclopedic knowledge of the subject. I'm new to this website but so far have found it an excellent source of words to songs and now, of course, esoteric information. I'll be back, perhaps with even more taxing questions!


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Subject: RE: Help: What is a tarrier
From: Jacob B
Date: 04 Feb 00 - 01:48 PM

There is no possible way that anyone could drill a hole in hard rock with an auger! You would use a star drill, or something similar. Drive the drill in with a sledgehammer, which crushes the rock directly under the edges of the drill, then give the drill a fraction of a turn to get new rock under the edges for the next blow. The edges of the star drill are straight, unlike the spiral that goes up the sides of an auger. An auger is more suited for materials that can be cut with a sharp edge, such as a bung cork, wood (boring auger), or dirt (post hole auger).


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Subject: RE: Help: What is a tarrier
From: Margo
Date: 04 Feb 00 - 02:06 PM

Ah, but no one has mentioned the sea shantey about Napoleon!

Bony was a warrior, a wey hey ya!
A warrior, a tarrior, Jean Francois!

Sorry about not knowing the spelling used, but phonetically, it is terrier. Why would they be calling Napoleon a tarrior? Could it be a metaphor of his "boring" into other countries? What do you think?

Margo


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Subject: RE: Help: What is a tarrier
From: Amos
Date: 04 Feb 00 - 02:14 PM

Well, you're right on about the star drill -- I wasn't meaning a corkscrew shape like a bung augur would be, but the function of the thing -- hammer it in and twist it. As I said this is speculative and I wish some old tarrier would show up who would put us all straight! But I am sure that those holes were drilled at first by hand.

I think the Boney line is just rhyming for alliteration's sake, at a guess.

A


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Subject: RE: Help: What is a tarrier
From: Metchosin
Date: 04 Feb 00 - 02:22 PM

Margo, it could also refer to the ferocious nature of the "terrier", the only dog we humans have designed, I believe, to actually kill its prey.


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Subject: RE: Help: What is a tarrier
From: Margo
Date: 04 Feb 00 - 06:01 PM

I had no idea terriers were bred to kill! Yes, that would make sense.


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Subject: RE: Help: What is a tarrier
From: Jon W.
Date: 04 Feb 00 - 07:27 PM

And they're small too, just like Boney.


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Subject: RE: Help: What is a tarrier
From: Sandy Paton
Date: 04 Feb 00 - 07:42 PM

Quite aside from all of the above, Eric Partridge, in A Dictionary of the Underworld, British and American says:

Terrier. An Irishman: 1904, No. 1500, Life in Sing Sing; ob. A fusion of the cheerful terrier (and cheerful Irishman) + Terry, short for that very common Irish name, Terence.

Which, I confess, I find far from convincing. In fact, I might even say I think that's for the birds (pun intended).

Sandy


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Subject: RE: Help: What is a tarrier
From: Sandy Paton
Date: 04 Feb 00 - 09:18 PM

One more entry:

The American Thesaurus of Slang (1942) gives us "terrier" under 771: (Railroad) 10: Section hand.

In other places, "terrier and shamrock" is offered as slang for "corned beef and cabbage."

One of my other dictionaries (an English publication) suggests "terrier" comes from "Territorial Army" and describes the derivation as being used "punningly."

All of these tell us how the word was used, which we already knew, but not why. And so it goes.

Sandy


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Subject: RE: Help: What is a tarrier
From: Banjer
Date: 04 Feb 00 - 09:18 PM

The term 'tarrier' is used also in the song 'BONEY', found in the DT. It says, "Boney was a warrior,.....A warrior and a tarrier". Have often wondered about that myself....


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Subject: RE: Help: What is a tarrier
From: Metchosin
Date: 04 Feb 00 - 09:36 PM

Banjer, Margo and I discussed "Boney" above, guess you missed it.


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Subject: RE: Help: What is a tarrier
From: Banjer
Date: 05 Feb 00 - 08:30 AM

Whoops!!! Why I missed that I have no idea....Thanks!


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Subject: RE: Help: What is a tarrier
From: GUEST,Frank Hamilton
Date: 05 Feb 00 - 09:09 AM

I would go with the definition: an Irish worker. I'd guess it was a slang term to refer to the Irish laborers blasting out tunnels in rock for the railroads. It's Just like John Henry who did the same thing for the Big Bend Tunnel of the Chesapeake and Ohio Railroad in West Virginia. A lot of this work was done by Asian so-called "coolee" laborers as well. There were many premature blasts that went off.


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Subject: RE: Help: What is a tarrier
From: Metchosin
Date: 05 Feb 00 - 01:01 PM

Hence Frank, perhaps the double entendre regarding the barrel bung remover and the terrier (earth dog).


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Subject: RE: Help: What is a tarrier
From: Metchosin
Date: 05 Feb 00 - 01:10 PM

I'm quite often in awe of the incredible skill and use of "colour" in regard to the English language, sometimes shown in old traditional folk songs. A skill which still quite often shows up in the Irish, and Australian use of the language, but sadly of late, seems to be missing in North America.


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Subject: RE: Help: What is a tarrier
From: GUEST,Stahnman
Date: 07 Feb 02 - 11:58 AM

A tarrier is a terrier.......or a little tough, persistent dog.


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Subject: RE: Help: What is a tarrier
From: Gareth
Date: 07 Feb 02 - 02:09 PM

Tarrier Drill, also known as the Star Drill.

Some years ago I was helping convert an old Railway Station in Whitstable into a "Social Club" - Money was short and we only hired Kango Hammers when we had to.

We had to cut a 6" diameter hole in some raileay "blue" engineering bricks to run the beer pipes into the bar area. A local metal worker converterd 2 railway Crowbars into Star drills and away we went. Christ it hurt, not so much the misses with the sledge but the shock on the wrists and arms holding and twisting the drills.

No I've some respect for those who could and did drill through rock and coal with "Star Drills"

Ah the things you have to do at times !

Gareth


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Subject: RE: Help: What is a tarrier
From: gnu
Date: 07 Feb 02 - 03:04 PM

I believe the true answer lies in the posts above, but tarrier is a term I know from heavy civil construction work to mean "slacker". As in one who tarries, from tarry, which is to linger, or to be tardy, or to delay or procrastinate. A lazy bugger.


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Subject: RE: Help: What is a tarrier
From: RichM
Date: 07 Feb 02 - 04:31 PM

Roget's II: The New Thesaurus, Third Edition. 1995.

tarrier NOUN: One that lags: dawdler, dilly-dallier, lag, laggard, lagger, lingerer, loiterer, poke, procrastinator, straggler. Informal : slowpoke. See FAST.


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Subject: RE: Help: What is a tarrier
From: Susan of DT
Date: 09 Feb 02 - 02:44 PM

(dick greenhaus here)

The Analysts? Song (Michael Silverstein)

Refrain: Shill, analyst, shill, Shill you analyst, shill, Oh you shill all day For your bonus Christmas pay, Down, behind, the trading floor, Now shill you analysts, shill. Complain? You?re fired!

Ev?ry morning, they sifts and sorts, Seeking out clues in some annual reports, While the front office says better not forget, Those firms that we took public, we still owe a debt.

Refrain: And shill, you analyst, shill, Shill you analyst, shill, Oh you shill all day For your bonus Christmas pay, Down, behind, the trading floor, Now shill you analyst, shill. Complain? You?re fired!

The bubble?s popped, and they?re seeking a name, Someone to tag in the old blame game, And analysts jobs are the one?s to cut ?Cause folks that called the tune have covered their butt.

Refrain: And shill, you analyst, shill, Shill you analyst, shill, Oh you shill all day For your bonus Christmas pay, Down, behind, the trading floor, Now shill you analysts, shill. Tough luck. You?re fired!


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Subject: RE: Help: What is a tarrier
From: Deckman
Date: 09 Feb 02 - 11:39 PM

I'm with "Gareth" and the anolgy of the tarrier drill and the star drill. As any mason knows, the four toothed (splined) bit of a star drill is HELL perceived. Yet it was the best of its kind ... at the time. The drill (bit) had to be rotated slightly between each hammer blow, or else it would bind in it's own tracks, jam. To un-jam it cost rythmn, time, money. Anytime I sing this song, I visualize the "tarrier" as the poor bloke holding the star drill in his hands, rotating it slightly between the hammer blows, and praying for salvation ... just my opinion! Bob


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Subject: RE: Help: What is a tarrier
From: Dicho (Frank Staplin)
Date: 09 Feb 02 - 11:55 PM

Funny! No one looked into books concerned with the railroads. Here is the definition from "Long Steel Rail."
Tarrier: "19th century hard-rock laborers who drilled and blasted their way across the continent paving the way for the railroad tracks." Norm Cohen, 1981, "Long Steel Rail," p. 555.
Cohen goes on to say the origin is uncertain, but he favors terrier; these dogs dig their quarry out of holes.


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