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BS: curious expressions

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paddymac 28 Sep 00 - 05:19 PM
Max 28 Sep 00 - 05:34 PM
mousethief 28 Sep 00 - 05:41 PM
kendall 28 Sep 00 - 05:57 PM
GUEST,Kit 28 Sep 00 - 06:07 PM
GUEST,Greyeyes 28 Sep 00 - 06:20 PM
catspaw49 28 Sep 00 - 06:40 PM
Noreen 28 Sep 00 - 06:47 PM
Naemanson 28 Sep 00 - 06:50 PM
Ebbie 28 Sep 00 - 06:50 PM
rabbitrunning 28 Sep 00 - 06:55 PM
Morticia 28 Sep 00 - 07:05 PM
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Liz the Squeak 28 Sep 00 - 07:10 PM
DougR 28 Sep 00 - 07:12 PM
kendall 28 Sep 00 - 07:33 PM
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kendall 28 Sep 00 - 07:36 PM
John Hardly 28 Sep 00 - 07:37 PM
rabbitrunning 28 Sep 00 - 07:43 PM
Jim Dixon 28 Sep 00 - 07:46 PM
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radriano 29 Sep 00 - 04:33 PM
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Subject: curious expressions
From: paddymac
Date: 28 Sep 00 - 05:19 PM

All of us grew up with, and often still use, expressions whose origins are lost in those fabled mists of time. Examples which I've sorted out over the last several years include "cut and dried", which I believe derives from the process of digging and drying peat, and "pay the piper", which I think is largely self-explanatory. I recognize that there may well be other equally plausible sources for them.

But I just suffered an awakening as to another one. There I was, just casually reading the thread about over-long threads, when I encountered Brother Joe's "excuse the expression" caveat for using the hackneyed expression "about to peter out". Having the greatest respect and admiration for Joe, I wondered, for a split second, why in the world would he apologize for that? Then that proverbial ton of bricks fell on my head, quickly followed by vivid image, and I just couldn't contain myself any longer. I laughed so hard I nearly fell out of the chair. I'm ruined for life. Now I can never use, or even hear, that expression with suffering an uncontrolled fit of hilarity.

Do any other 'catters have any similar experience they're willing to let the rest of us in on?

Oh, and BTW Joe, Thanks. It was the best laugh I've had in a while.


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Subject: RE: BS: curious expressions
From: Max
Date: 28 Sep 00 - 05:34 PM

I have always been fascinated by phrases and colloquialisms and word origins. I think we use some out of habit and I know we sometimes use them without really understanding them.

I love the knowledge within this discussion forum. I look at it often as an academic resource that has significant history and human knowledge that could be studied. When I talk about the Mudcat to those who don't know about it, I mention that it does contain academic knowledge that may not be known or discussed otherwise. One category of this knowledge that I always mention is etymology, the study of word origin. I think it includes phrase origin as well.

I remember a court case about "Dust My Broom". These fatcat assholes who take over estates of dead bluesmen suing each other over who came up with this first.

Zora Neal Hursten wrote about a lot of Southern phrases in the 1930's I believe.

I bought a phrase dictionary once that had origins to a lot of phrases, thousands upon thousands. Most of those were the very old ones though, mostly that originated in Europe. I can't find that book now, but its great. I hope there is a book out there that includes a lot of the newer ones too.


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Subject: RE: BS: curious expressions
From: mousethief
Date: 28 Sep 00 - 05:41 PM

I've never had exactly the sort of epiphanous "aha!" experience you describe, paddymac, but at one time I did suddenly realize that "immediately" meant "without something medial" (i.e. in-between). Does that count?

I hope it's not too off topic to say this:

If you tumbled down a hillside or a flight of stairs, my grandmother would describe you as falling "ass over teakettle" and I have always wondered about the source of that curious expression.

Alex
O..O
=o=


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Subject: RE: BS: curious expressions
From: kendall
Date: 28 Sep 00 - 05:57 PM

In England that would be ass over tip.. here in maine it would be ass over elbow or bandbox.


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Subject: RE: BS: curious expressions
From: GUEST,Kit
Date: 28 Sep 00 - 06:07 PM

I've always the origins of the word "sabotage" interesting. Comes from the workers' revolution in France. The French word for clog being "sabot", they used to chuck their clogs in the machinery to cause it to stop. Then we stole it for a generic term in English. Clever, eh?


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Subject: RE: BS: curious expressions
From: GUEST,Greyeyes
Date: 28 Sep 00 - 06:20 PM

There is a publication in the UK called "Brewer's Dictionary of Phrase and Fable" which is about as close as you can get to a defitive source for this sort of stuff. Almost every moderate sized library in England would hold it, is there a US equivalent?


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Subject: RE: BS: curious expressions
From: catspaw49
Date: 28 Sep 00 - 06:40 PM

Paddy, I had almost exactly that same experience about 20 years ago. I used that phrase to a female customer and a new fellow we had hired from Jersey just broke up. I'd been saying "petered out" for years and had never given a thought to the actual words. Ronnie was the first one who ever pointed it out to me. The customer obviously had never thought it through either.

I too love this stuff. I have spent hours in bookstores and libraries reading word/phrase origins and the beauty of the 'Cat is that now I hear them from around the world. But I have lot that bother me. Instead of cursing in amazement or something, my grandparents would say, "Well I swan." A lot of people from their generation said it.......How the hell do you "swan" anyway?

I got a few others....this oughta' be a great thread paddy!!

Spaw


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Subject: RE: BS: curious expressions
From: Noreen
Date: 28 Sep 00 - 06:47 PM

Brewer's Dictionary of Phrase and Fable


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Subject: RE: BS: curious expressions
From: Naemanson
Date: 28 Sep 00 - 06:50 PM

Oh yeah! I love the 'cat. there are a whole lot of these things that really connect us to our past. As in "cut and dried" referring to peat, though it could refer to firewood as well. One that I have used all my life without knowing the origin is "the whole nine yards". Others like "son of a gun" and "take another tack" come to us from our nautical heritage.

I'm looking forward to what comes next on this thread. Thanks, Paddymac.


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Subject: RE: BS: curious expressions
From: Ebbie
Date: 28 Sep 00 - 06:50 PM

When I lived in Virginia, that was a common expression there, Spaw. I thought of it as a genteelism for 'I swear'.


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Subject: RE: BS: curious expressions
From: rabbitrunning
Date: 28 Sep 00 - 06:55 PM

Yup, the U.S. Equivalent of Brewers Dictionary of Phrase and Fable is ...tada... Brewers Dictionary of Phrase and Fable!

Just too good a resource for any English language library to be without. Although J.M. Dillard did a nice one called "American Talk," which has a lot of neat phrases in it.

There are a lot of good slang dictionaries too -- and I'll admit I enjoy "folk etymologies" quite as much as I enjoy the academic ones. I frequently the "folk" got it a lot closer.

Of course, when you watch a lot of imported (on my side of the pond) TV shows and read a lot of imported books, you wind up with an expanded vocabulary. I once told someone that I wasn't about to get my knickers in a twist over a minor problem and she laughed for three days...


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Subject: RE: BS: curious expressions
From: Morticia
Date: 28 Sep 00 - 07:05 PM

actually Kendall, you quoted the politer version....it's actually arse over tit....( trust me to know that, huh?).


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Subject: RE: BS: curious expressions
From: Quincy
Date: 28 Sep 00 - 07:05 PM

RR....My Co. Durham friend says "pants in a knot" instead for your expression!

I have the Brewer's book here with "Brewer's Myth and Legends" There's also "A Dictionary of Everyday Idioms".

best wishes, Yvonne


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Subject: RE: BS: curious expressions
From: Liz the Squeak
Date: 28 Sep 00 - 07:10 PM

Polite people say base over apex, but I was never polite if I could get away with being rude.

My mother would tell us not to get in a paddy - I often wondered what tantrums and rice fields had in common.... Mind you, she would say I'd laugh to see a pudding crawl, and that I was puggled.

Strange woman my mother......

LTS


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Subject: RE: BS: curious expressions
From: DougR
Date: 28 Sep 00 - 07:12 PM

I never head my dad say a swear word in my life. Some of his favorite expressions were, "Well, I'll Swan," "I'll be a monkey's uncle," and "What the Sam Hill." Were he living today, he would be 98 years old. I have never heard any of these expressions uttered by anybody in over fifty years.

DougR


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Subject: RE: BS: curious expressions
From: kendall
Date: 28 Sep 00 - 07:33 PM

Naemanson, I believe the expression "the whole nine yards" is fairly new in our lingo. As I understand it.the ammo belt in a WW2 fighter plane was nine yards long. When one returned from a mission, the pilot could say he did the "Whole nine yards."


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Subject: RE: BS: curious expressions
From: kendall
Date: 28 Sep 00 - 07:33 PM

Naemanson, I believe the expression "the whole nine yards" is fairly new in our lingo. As I understand it.the ammo belt in a WW2 fighter plane was nine yards long. When one returned from a mission, the pilot could say he did the "Whole nine yards."


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Subject: RE: BS: curious expressions
From: kendall
Date: 28 Sep 00 - 07:36 PM

Sorry about that..Maine is a treasure house of archaic expressions things like "son of a whore" I dont hear outside Maine. anyway, dont get your arse in an uproar.


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Subject: RE: BS: curious expressions
From: John Hardly
Date: 28 Sep 00 - 07:37 PM

The term "sucks" has GOT to have one of the fastest evolutions from gutter to acceptability in the history of language. I mentioned this to someone and watched the light slowly dawn.

John


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Subject: RE: BS: curious expressions
From: rabbitrunning
Date: 28 Sep 00 - 07:43 PM

Well, DougR, _I_ used "What the Sam Hill?" just yesterday, but then again, my mom uses it all the time -- so it has disappeared entirely. But I've never "Swanned" or even threatened to do so, so I don't know what it means.

Here's one... did you grow up saying something was crossing the street "kitty cornered" or "catty cornered" or "cattercornered?"


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Subject: RE: BS: curious expressions
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 28 Sep 00 - 07:46 PM

Eric Partridge (1894-1979), my favorite writer on the English language, wrote "A Dictionary of Catch Phrases" in 1977. A 2nd edition was edited and updated by Paul Beale in 1986. I have this book, and it is fascinating. Get hold of it if you can.

Other books of his that I have and can recommend are "Usage and Abusage" and "A Dictionary of Clichés."

The Library of Congress Online Catalog lists lots of other books by him. Among the more fascinating-sounding titles: "Shakespeare's Bawdy" "A Dictionary of Slang and Unconventional English" "A Dictionary of the Underworld" "The Gentle Art of Lexicography as Pursued and Experienced by an Addict" "The Shaggy Dog Story; Its Origin, Development and Nature (With a Few Seemly Examples)"


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Subject: RE: BS: curious expressions
From: SINSULL
Date: 28 Sep 00 - 09:32 PM

I had the unfortunate experience of announcing at a dinner with new friends in Australia that I was "stuffed". Not a polite expression there and then.
Also worked with a man who would describe any woman in a bad mood as "on the rag". I didn't take offense until it was pointed out to me that women did not always have access to Kotex. He'd probably be fired for that today.


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Subject: RE: BS: curious expressions
From: catspaw49
Date: 28 Sep 00 - 09:51 PM

That one somehow got morphed into an everyday "ragged out" which we all use without thought.

Catter-Cornered as in offset is used a lot as "Cattywahmpus" around here (phonetic spelling-I have no idea how to spell it, just say it).

Anybody know where "Book" came from....as in leave. Hey man, its 3 o'clock, I gotta' book.

Unions perhaps, as you carried your book/log from job to job?

Spaw


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Subject: RE: BS: curious expressions
From: rube1
Date: 28 Sep 00 - 10:18 PM

"Don't that tear the rag off the bush!" -one of J.R. Ewing's more colorful sayings. Always curious about that one.


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Subject: RE: BS: curious expressions
From: Helen
Date: 28 Sep 00 - 10:42 PM

About 10 years ago I discovered a lovely book called Lily on the Dustbin by Nancy Keesing (an Australian). It's full of family-oriented sayings, i.e. sayings which were acceptable with children present.

One of my favourites, which I hadn't heard for decades is: As scarce as rocking horse shit. The book has some clever illustrations and this one shows a rocking horse shitting wooden A-B-C child's blocks. I laughed when I saw it because the real imagery of the saying just hit home to me.

I started using the phrase after that and nearly everyone who hears it cracks up or comments that they haven't heard it for years. I was working in the public library at the time and I took a phone enquiry from someone looking for a particularly hard-to-find motor repair manual (hard to find because they kept getting stolen because they had gone out of print almost immediately after the first print run). After the man told me what he wanted I said "Oh yes, it's listed in the catalogue but those manuals are as scarce as rocking-horse ..........umm..err.. umm.. (frantically back-pedalling, trying to think of the polite equivalent to shit)" I suddenly realised I was just about to swear to a customer I didn't even know. It was all right though because he cracked up laughing too.

The Oz-language is full of funny imagery - e.g. He was all over me like a rash (woman complaining of man getting too familiar on a date). People say it without thinking about it but when I picture what is really being said it's very funny.

Helen


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Subject: RE: BS: curious expressions
From: Troll
Date: 28 Sep 00 - 10:47 PM

"You've burnt your butt. now sit on the blisters." was a favorite of my fathers. Another was "ass over appetite" and "like tryin' to herd cats". "Well, you've sh*t in your messkit this time" was also commonly in use.

troll


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Subject: RE: BS: curious expressions
From: Mbo
Date: 28 Sep 00 - 10:53 PM

"All over him like stink on a monkey" --Cosmo Kramer


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Subject: RE: BS: curious expressions
From: catspaw49
Date: 28 Sep 00 - 10:57 PM

Gawd Troll.............."Shit in your messkit"...........One of my Mom's favorites and I had completely forgotten it!!!! What a great thread!

Spaw


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Subject: RE: BS: curious expressions
From: Metchosin
Date: 28 Sep 00 - 11:04 PM

Don't know if it really is where the expression came from, but I had always used the term "didn't know squat". A few months ago I was reading a story about a ship's captain who ran aground in a channel because he hadn't calculated for squat, which if I recall correctly, is the compression of water because of the weight of a ship. All of a sudden the lights went on for me.

According to a small book I have called West Coast Words by Tom Parkin, "Ants in your pants" or "antsy" supposedly originated from the habit of loggers putting their clothes on ant hills so that the ants would devour the crumbs (lice) Old style dry cleaning.


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Subject: RE: BS: curious expressions
From: CamiSu
Date: 28 Sep 00 - 11:15 PM

Maybe 'I swan' was past tense of I swoon? And we've said 'ass over applecart' forever. Grandma had a zillion of these sayings. 'Cat's in the lake' for it's too late to fix it now, and the one that flummoxed me entirely when she first said it to me, 'Blind man, galloping horse, dark night.' After I'd stared at her for a while, she finally said (about a goof on some woodworking I wasdoing in her house) 'A blind man on a galloping horse on a dark night won't see it'.

Also if something is falling to pieces faster tha one can put it back together, we say it is 'having kittens'. Course there is always 'more fun than drowning kittens' and 'haven't had so much fun since my last root canal', neither of which sounds like much fun... (is that why I have a never-ending supply of cats?

Cami Su


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Subject: RE: BS: curious expressions
From: Harold W
Date: 28 Sep 00 - 11:18 PM

"I SWAN" means I understand, but am somewhat amazed.


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Subject: RE: BS: curious expressions
From: MsMoon
Date: 28 Sep 00 - 11:22 PM

Words of warning:

This is one of the most fun, interesting topics I know of to talk about. Each new phrase derivation is a joyful little discovery, and one generally goes around sharing it with one's friends for days afterward, But you have to be careful what source you found the history in. "The whole nine yards" is an expression that has been the bane of folklorists and phraseologists for years...almost every field of human endeavor claims to be at its root, and there are actually no clearly substantiated histories for it. Another one you often hear is that "mind your p's and q's" came from tavern keepers who marked down how many Pints or Quarts a toper drank; that's a cute story, but a false one, as there is a lot more documentation for the phrase having come from typesetting in a print shop.(The p's and q's , since they're molded backward on a piece of type, are easy to mix up.)


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Subject: RE: BS: curious expressions
From: bbelle
Date: 28 Sep 00 - 11:25 PM

My great-great-grandmother, Ma Jo, had great expressions and was a grand old southern dame. She was 102 when she passed and as full of spitfire then, as the day she was born. She kept a bottle of bourbon in her medicine cabinet, for the polite nip, and smoked a pipe. Some of her favorites were:

"Couldn't pour water out of a boot with the directions on the heel."

"Didn't have a pot to pee in or a window to throw it out of."

And if she was really irritated with someone, they "made my butt want to chew pine rosin."

My paternal grandmother used the term "I Swan" or "I Swannee."

My mother said something is "as hot as hello pete."

I can hear them saying those phrases, even today.


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Subject: RE: BS: curious expressions
From: MsMoon
Date: 28 Sep 00 - 11:27 PM

I kind of agree "I swan" could be a Bowdlerized "I swear"...my grandfather had a million of these almost-swears, including "Awwww,...Foot!" and "Good...Night!" and "Shhhhugar!" Never what you thought you were about to hear!


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Subject: RE: BS: curious expressions
From: MsMoon
Date: 28 Sep 00 - 11:29 PM

From the grandmother of a friend, when surprised:

"Well, shit fire and save matches!"

And from my mother's friend's mother, when surprised:

"Well - slap my grandma!"


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Subject: RE: BS: curious expressions
From: Mbo
Date: 28 Sep 00 - 11:32 PM

"Well slap the dog and spit in the fire!" --Naomi Judd


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Subject: RE: BS: curious expressions
From: ddw
Date: 28 Sep 00 - 11:34 PM

Naemanson & Kendall —

I ran across an article somewhere recently about odd phrases and their origins — wish I could remember where — and it discussed "the whole nine yards."

It nodded to the explanation Kendall put forth, but said the phrase was actually much older, harkening back to the days when women wore hooped skirts that took nine yards of material to make.

That much material was very expensive, so some innovative dressmaker figured out how to put in pleats to make the skirts look like they had all the material, but didn't — which meant they could be made and sold for less. For the rich, however, such economy was looked down upon (and just check those last three words for wierdness) and it became a matter of pride to get "the whole nine yards."

'Spaw — Have nothing to base it on except what I always figured about the word "book" to mean "go." I though it was just a shortened — or at least derived — form of the phrase "booked out," meaning to have your tickets. There's a blues dictionary site somewhere around here. I'll see if I can find it and give you a link.

I've also wondered if it might mean being signed out — as in logging the time y ou leave a place — but I've never seen any reference to that.

david


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Subject: RE: BS: curious expressions
From: MsMoon
Date: 28 Sep 00 - 11:35 PM

wow..a combination of the two ;)


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Subject: RE: BS: curious expressions
From: MsMoon
Date: 28 Sep 00 - 11:37 PM

Yeah, and also, it's been attributed to the delivery of cement in a cement mixer, with the claim that a full cement mixer hold nine cubic yards of cement, and thus, emptying it means unloading the whole nine....etc.

Truthfully, there are tons of these books out there, and as with anything - history, folk music - to be sure, there has to be documentation. And that particular phrase is fascinating because of the dozens of origins attributed to it.


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Subject: RE: BS: curious expressions
From: GUEST,homesick
Date: 28 Sep 00 - 11:39 PM

When we called the ESB to have the electric turned on in our new home in Ireland 38 years ago, the man came and told us that the wire didn't have any jizz in it. I almost fell down the steps from shock. I had not heard that word since WW2, when it was used as a slang word for sperm and considered very naughty here in the States. My husband finally got up the nerve to ask him what he meant by jizz and he explained that in Ireland it meant 'life', -- and we had a dead wire!!! Then there is 'the hair of the dog that bit ya.' Feeling banjaxed? Jacklegged carpenter. And what the heck do jackeen and culchie,(spelling?,) mean???? The Irish language doesn't even have a 'j' in it!! I thought the whole nine yards was the length of fabric in a man's dress kilt. The same as dressed to the nines.

Fun thread, thanks.


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Subject: RE: BS: curious expressions
From: MsMoon
Date: 28 Sep 00 - 11:44 PM

Hey...I'm getting all interested in continuing now that it's bedtime, of course -

Here's a cool site with a brief note on the Nine Yards..http://www.shu.ac.uk/web-admin/phrases/index.html

yeesh,...how do you create a link on here these days??


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Subject: RE: BS: curious expressions
From: MsMoon
Date: 28 Sep 00 - 11:52 PM

OK, Let's try:


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Subject: RE: BS: curious expressions
From: Lonesome EJ
Date: 29 Sep 00 - 12:42 AM

My Grampaw (Kentucky spellin') went to see an elderly friend of his,and my Mom asked how old Cecil was doing. Grampaw said "Well,he looked like Death Eatin' a Cracker." I'm not sure where that one came from but you've got to give it high marks for pictorial description.

moonjen,my Dad liked the expression "couldn't pour water out of a boot with the directions on the heel" too,but he was fond of substituting piss for water. He also loved to say so-and-so "is as useless as the tits on a boor hog."

My Mom used to get mad because Dad would stop at Tom's Tavern on Fridays,partly due to the fact that she figured he was chasing women there."But Honey," he'd say "Tom's is a stag bar." If he went out to play cards,it was a "stag party." Even when I was in High School,you could go to the Prom "stag",meaning without a date. To me,that term has the feel of antiquity to it,a connection made by the males in the tribe or village to the solitary nature of the Male Deer. Sad to think that in one generation it has become archaic.A teenager who works for me told me about a dance he was going to, and I said "do you have a date,or are you going stag?"He didn't have a clue what I meant.


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Subject: RE: BS: curious expressions
From: Barbara
Date: 29 Sep 00 - 03:18 AM

Some permutations of phrases already mentioned:
(he looked like) Death warmed over
get your shorts in a wad
Ass over teacup

And some fresh ones:
slick as greased owl shit
don't that just rot your socks?
Ain't worth sic'em (not worth setting your dog on him)
something you choke on "goes down your Sunday throat"
the thing what lives down the drain and makes the wierd noises was called "Gobbledy-gook" according to my grandmother.
barking spiders (flatulence)
trolleywagger (loose thread on your garment; from the electric connection wire that either connected or grounded the overhead wire trolleys where I grew up-- Detroit MI)
baggies and squeezers -- two kinds of men's underwear.
utrou (pronounced you-trahw) men's underwear. army? an abbreviation for under-trousers.
thundermug -- chamberpot

And from the movie "Nurse Betty":
She's as nutty as my shit after a pound of Almond Roca.

I can understand about a bankrupt enterprise going "belly up", but where do you suppose "gunnysack" comes from?
blessings,
Barbara


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Subject: RE: BS: curious expressions
From: Gervase
Date: 29 Sep 00 - 05:27 AM

A couple of tasteless ones from my own father (who had a very ripe turn of phrase and was seldom known NOT to swear):
Stuck like shit to a blanket
Stuck like snot to an oven door


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Subject: RE: BS: curious expressions
From: GUEST,Fibula Mattock
Date: 29 Sep 00 - 06:06 AM

homesick - a culchie is someone who lives in a hole-in-the-hedge in the arsehole-of-nowhere, to get a few more sayings in there. Probably comes from an abbreviation of "agricultural", and sums up anyone who speaks in a broad country accent, comes from a farming background (or according to "townies", if they don't come from the city) and drives their tractor to the local disco. Some of the culchies in Norn Ireland have a term for the townies, calling them "Frankies". For ages I puzzled over this - people assumed it was because a considerable amount of them were called "Frankie" and shouting it to their like-named mates in a broad Belfast accent. Turns out it actually stems from the War when people were evacuated from the cities and had their papers franked to indicate they were evacuees.


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Subject: RE: BS: curious expressions
From: Micca
Date: 29 Sep 00 - 07:19 AM

Spaw, I am fairly certain that "petered out" comes from Gunpowderbeing used in a powder train or at the touchole of a gun, that didnt have enough (or too much?) Saltpeter in it and would flare fitfully and go out rather than burn smoothly and fire the cannon.
The 9 yards question I am sure is from the dress kilt explanation, the great length being needed to reproduce the pattern when the pleats were made so that it looked continuous. a couple from my Aunties.
" shy but willing like a donkey eating thistles"
" he looked like s**t on a slate on a rainy day"( for someone not well)
" he couldnt find his arse with both hands and a torch"


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Subject: RE: BS: curious expressions
From: Quincy
Date: 29 Sep 00 - 08:25 AM

A comment I heard about protruding teeth was...he could eat an apple through a letter-box!!!
Looking miserable leads to...he has a face as long as a Lurgan spade (long for spading the turf), or his face is trippin' him.

Likewise when crying....the tears were trippin' me.
I suppose if some of the requests we made were taken literally they would also sound funny? My grandad would come home at night looking for an Ulster fry and would say to my granny "put the pan on Maggie".
I wonder did Polly literally put the kettle on...and did it fit her??

Also it makes me smile with phrases like 'I'm just going to turn the engine over..on a frosty morning. Or just turning the tv over!!!

I love all this!!!
Ah sure there's none strange as folk!!
best wishes, Yvonne


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Subject: RE: BS: curious expressions
From: Dharmabum
Date: 29 Sep 00 - 08:42 AM

My father used to say ,Don't crap on your own doorstep. Don't pee on my parade. Don't knock the wind out of my sails.

Rare as hens teeth. He don't know Jack Shit. Useless as a one armed paper hanger. Useless as a one legged man in a ass kickin contest.

When my kids were little their grandmother would call them a Pillgarlic, I still don't know what that means.

How about a fart being refered to as "Just a turd honkin for the right of way".

Ron.


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Subject: RE: BS: curious expressions
From: SINSULL
Date: 29 Sep 00 - 08:50 AM

I always loved "The armpit of the world" used to describe less than ideal places to live.
Another source for interesting sayings and derivations:
Martha Barnette is the author of Ladyfingers & Nun's Tummies: A Lighthearted Look at How Foods Got Their Names. She's also the word maven at http://www.funwords.com.


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Subject: RE: BS: curious expressions
From: GUEST,Roger the skiffler
Date: 29 Sep 00 - 08:53 AM

A face like half-chewed caramel
(Of a bandy legged person):Couldn't stop a pig in an entry
All fur coat and no knickers
(To name droppers):Oh yes I know 'er , 'er granny used to mangle our treacle
Face like the back end of a 'bus
All dressed up like a dog's dinner
She had a floating appendix (unacknowledged pregnancy & illegal abortion)
She had it all taken away (hysterectomy)
How foreigners ever learn proper English from us, I'll never know!
RtS


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Subject: RE: BS: curious expressions
From: GUEST,Fibula Mattock
Date: 29 Sep 00 - 09:35 AM

Or my own personal favourite expression: "I'm sweatin' like a hoor in church"...


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Subject: RE: BS: curious expressions
From: okthen
Date: 29 Sep 00 - 09:47 AM

well i'll go to the foot of our stairs.

glad this thread came up, i was going to post a question some while back, about american expressions used in films/tv progs. "on the bleachers" had me foxed for a while 'till i read an article on baseball.

"take a rain check" has never been fully explained to me, i gather it means "later" but don't know it's origin.

i used to like james garner's detective series(forgotten the name) some of the dialogue was very inventive,"i'm gonna rip the wheels right of your trolley"

recently i've enjoyed the image of a "chocolate teapot" or "an ashtray on a motorbike"

to close i'll just ask if anyone knows a site where i can obtain some "wire netting seed" ........

cheers

bill


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Subject: RE: BS: curious expressions
From: Barbara
Date: 29 Sep 00 - 10:05 AM

Bill, I believe 'rain check' comes originally from outdoor sports -- baseball? -- where, if the game was called on account of rain, the attendees would be given a pass to for the day the game resumed. Could be a concert, too, any outside event that was rained out. The ticket that let you come back later is called 'a rain check'.
Over time, the ticket has come to be given for sale items that are out of stock when you go to buy them. If the store no longer has widgets for only $17.95, even tho the sale is supposed to run till Tuesday, I can ask the clerk for a rain check. She will write the name of the item & price on the slip of paper, and I can buy it at that price when the next shipment comes in three weeks later.
Blessings,
Barbara


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Subject: RE: BS: curious expressions
From: Allan C.
Date: 29 Sep 00 - 10:12 AM

rubel, my understanding of "Don't it just take the rag off the bush?" is that it comes from a contest of horse riding skill. Colored rags were hung on low bushes and riders would, at full gallop, lean precariously from their saddles and snatch the rag from the bush. As you might imagine, one had to be an excellent horseman to do this. Soon the expression came to be equated with actions (usually) which were especially good. BTW, the rags on the bushes were inexpensive replacements for chickens, which were also sometimes used.

Among the many descriptive expressions my father used was to say that something, such as shuffling cards, "sounded like a cow wetting on a flat rock". As for describing someone with prominent front teeth, he would say that the person "could eat watermelon through a picket fence". Useless things or lazy people were likened to a "bump on a log" or "bump on a pickle".

Mom still speaks of someone who worries about those situations for which nothing can be done as "crying over spilt milk".

I love expressions which conjure images which express a thought in a way that no one word could do. Another one of my Dad's was "cold as a mother-in-law's kiss". The counterpart of that was "hotter than a two-dollar pistol". My grandfather spoke of a disorganized person as "running around like a chicken with its head cut off". Something awkward or out of place was being "like a hog on ice".

My friend, David C., has often said, "We haven't had this much excitement since Ma got her tit caught in the wringer." He also speaks of things, such as banjo pickers in North Carolina, being so numerous that "you can't sling a cat without hitting one".

This last one brought a distasteful image to mind until I realized that it more than likely referred to a cat o' nine tails.


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Subject: RE: BS: curious expressions
From: Sorcha
Date: 29 Sep 00 - 10:35 AM

So small you "can't cuss a cat without getting hair in your mouth"
Dumber than a "box of rocks"
Easy as "falling off a log"
"air biscuit" for flautulence
"No skin off my nose" for Doesn't matter to me
"Crazier than a coot"--coot is a waterfowl?
"Older than dirt"
"Whole ball of wax"--meaning all of it, like nine yards, but what wax?
"Like flies on shit"


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Subject: RE: BS: curious expressions
From: Mbo
Date: 29 Sep 00 - 10:38 AM

When my parents were MP's in the Marines, they had a co-worker/friend from West Virginia who's favorite line was "It smells (or looks) like 20 miles of what-the-hell." Also, my father's family always says "He made out like a porch-climber." BTW Allan, ask David where all the banjo players are down here! I don't see any!


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Subject: RE: BS: curious expressions
From: mousethief
Date: 29 Sep 00 - 11:05 AM

Somebody all wrapped up on the couch (sofa) in a blanket is "all comfy-cozy" and "snug as a bug in a rug."

I remember the phrase "pig in a poke" but not what it refers to or what larger expression it's part of.

Someone who has started a project to large or complicated for them to finish has "bitten off more than they could chew."

If you dish up a bunch of food on your plate but can't finish it all, "your eyes are bigger than your stomach."

"Crazier than a hoot-owl"

Someone who talks a lot but never says anything, or an explanation that doesn't really explain, "generates more heat than light."

When things are going awry they're "going to Hell in a hand-basket."

If I exasperated my mother or grandmother, they would threaten to put me on a "slow boat to China," or to "knock [me] clean into tomorrow," or "give [me] what-for."

In disbelief my grandmother would say, "the hell you bellar!" (I always thought that "bellar" was an insult -- like "you idiot" -- eventually the light bulb came on and I realized it was a verb equivalent roughly to "holler"!)

My grandfather would compare things by saying "it's a damned sight nearer" or "a damned sight closer" -- this was never literal (for actual distance) but rather figurative for "more like" -- e.g. "baseball is a damned sight nearer to kick the can than it is to cricket."

This is a great thread! I miss my grandparents dearly and this brings them a little closer.

Alex
O..O
=o=


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Subject: RE: BS: curious expressions
From: Mbo
Date: 29 Sep 00 - 11:24 AM

Wellerism time!!

"Dumb as a drum with a hole in it."

" "...out vith it, as the father said to the child, wen he swallowed a farden."

"'...a wictim of connubiality,' as Blue Beard's domestic chaplain said, with a tear of pity, ven he buried him."

"'It's over, and can't be helped,' and that's one consolation, as they alway say in Turkey, ven they cuts the wrong man's head off."'

"'Everyone to their own taste' as the old woman said as she kissed the cow."

"'What the devil do you want with me?' as the man said when he see the ghost."

"'This I call addin' insult to injury', as the parrot said ven they not only took him from his native land, but made him talk the English langwidge arterwards."

"'He wants you particklar; no one else'll do,' as the Devil's private secretary said ven he fetched avay Doctor Faustus."

"'...vether it's worth while goin' through so much, to learn so little,' as the charity-boy said ven he got to the end of the alphabet, is a matter o'taste."

"'...anythin' for a quiet life,' as the man said wen he took the sitivation at the lighthouse."

And many others too numerous to type!


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Subject: RE: BS: curious expressions
From: Mbo
Date: 29 Sep 00 - 11:26 AM

But I think THIS once is my favorite:

"'Wotever is, is right,' as the young nobleman sveetly remarked wen they put him down in the pension list 'cos his mother's uncle's vife's grandfather vunce lit the king's pipe with a portable tinderbox."


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Subject: RE: BS: curious expressions
From: AllisonA(Animaterra)
Date: 29 Sep 00 - 11:37 AM

"Don't get your undies bunched!"
My mother used to exclaim, "Great Snakes!" when astonished. Timbrel, I haven't heard "Awwwwwwww, Foot!" and "Good Night! in ages. Mom used to say those, too.


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Subject: RE: BS: curious expressions
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 29 Sep 00 - 12:02 PM

Here are some of my dad's expressions. (He was born on a farm in western Kentucky in 1899.)

It ain't worth a hoot [fart] in a whirlwind.

He don't know his ass [arse] from a hole in the ground.

…go around with his ass a-hangin' out. [… be extremely poor; penniless]

I'll jerk a knot in your tail! [I'll make you wish you hadn't done that!]

I'll take you down a notch! [ditto]

You'll be goin' around with your ass in a sling! [ditto]

… all tuckered out. [tired]

plumb [completely]

"I see," said the blind man. [I don't understand; or, you don't understand, do you?]

There's more than one way to skin a cat. [… to get the job done.]

What fer? Cat fur! [An impatient answer to a kid who asks too many questions.]

You'd lose your head if it wasn't sewed on. [said to a person who loses things]

"A naught's a naught [zero] 'n' a figger's a figger [figure]; all for the white man, none for the n****r." [describing how white storekeepers/landlords used to cheat their supposedly innumerate black customers/tenants, etc.]

a depression sandwich [cold leftover mashed potatoes on white bread, which he actually ate once in a while!]


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Subject: RE: BS: curious expressions
From: Noreen
Date: 29 Sep 00 - 12:11 PM

Fibula and homesick,
From an essay on 'culchies' in Local Ireland:

There are various explanations on the etymology or 'culchie'. The generally received one is a variation of 'Coilte Mach' (County Mayo), which has seen its fair share of culchies down the years. Coined by the cosmopolitan students of Galway University, it was no doubt employed to put the agricultural students from further wild west in their place.

I believe the word was used here in England e.g. signs on boarding houses saying 'No culchies wanted here', but it now seems to have been taken up as an affectionate term, see: the Original Culchie Festival in Shrule, Co, Mayo (26-29 October) which sounds fun- it is likened to a male version of the Rose of Tralee :0)

Noreen


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Subject: RE: BS: curious expressions
From: Micca
Date: 29 Sep 00 - 12:18 PM

There are 2 nautical expressions for joining a ship with nothing but what you stand up in. (usually after missing your ship in a port and it sailing off with all your stuff)Usually unpopular with shipmates as such guys were always "borrowing" kit.
sailing schooner rigged( that is the only sails it has are what you see)
and "He joined with 53 pieces of luggage, a pack of cards and a sweat rag"


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Subject: RE: BS: curious expressions
From: Ebbie
Date: 29 Sep 00 - 12:18 PM

Strike while the iron is hot, I believe, is a blacksmithing reference.


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Subject: RE: BS: curious expressions
From: Uncle_DaveO
Date: 29 Sep 00 - 12:37 PM

My mother, when amazed or exasperated, would say, "Good night, nurse!"

And from my childhood:

"Where ya goin'?" "Crazy; want to come along?"

"Whatcha doin'?" "Mildewing."

Dave Oesterreich


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Subject: RE: BS: curious expressions
From: mousethief
Date: 29 Sep 00 - 12:40 PM

Also from childhood:

Whatcha doin'? None of your beeswax.

Alex
O..O
=o=


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Subject: RE: BS: curious expressions
From: Metchosin
Date: 29 Sep 00 - 12:47 PM

A German friend came out with the following the other day when my husband was late for a meeting, due to some side affects of a flu bug:

Don't trust anything, not even your own a**hole.

At one time my brother and I, laughing hysterically, could carry on a ten minute conversation between us, using nothing but our Father's platitudes and expressions, that we could remember from childhood, such as:
Don't get your shirt in a knot
Don't cut off your nose to spite your face
See what you made me do
Shut your cakehole
I'll fix your little red wagon
You'll be laughing on the other side of your face in a minute
Got 'em by the short and curlies now.

Sort of a sad legacy, all things considered......


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Subject: RE: BS: curious expressions
From: Allan C.
Date: 29 Sep 00 - 12:50 PM

mousethief, "a pig in a poke" is used in reference to making a bargain without knowing all of the details. A poke is a common term for a bag or sack. There are varying theories as to whether "pig" actually refers to the mammal or to something else. (I do not recall what.)


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Subject: RE: BS: curious expressions
From: Thomas the Rhymer
Date: 29 Sep 00 - 12:52 PM

Bassackwards, "is shit scared before you flush it down" "She couldn't even boil water right" "Couldn't hold a candle to him"

the whole nine yards is a fabric term I believe

"take a dive in a rolling doughnut"
"you couldn't find your head if it wasn't tacked on"
"your other left"
"a hambone in the dog pound" said of a former girlfriend...
"She lies like a rug"
"poring money down a rathole"
"why don't you find a nice busy street to play in?"
"take a long walk on a short pier"
"couldn't hit the broadside of a barn" "a few bricks short of a load" "not playing with a full deck" ...kinda dumb
Alright!!!!! ENOUGH!!!!!!!


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Subject: RE: BS: curious expressions
From: GUEST,Colwyn Dane
Date: 29 Sep 00 - 12:56 PM

G'day,

Here comes a few I've seen in print or heard:

Busy as a one-armed paperhanger with crabs. - exceedingly busy person.

Cold enough to freeze the brass of a bald monkey. - very cold.

He doesn't know whether to scratch his watch or wind his ass. - indecisive person.

Don't tell more than six. - don't tell anybody.

Don't wear it - eat it. - this to a sloppy eater.

I'm so hungry I could eat a horse and wagon and then chase the driver.

All over the place like a madwomans shit. - an untidy person/place.

He would talk a glass-eye to sleep. - a bore.

You can hear them change their minds. - thin walls.

Bcnu.


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Subject: RE: BS: curious expressions
From: jeffp
Date: 29 Sep 00 - 01:02 PM

"Buying a pig in a poke" referred to the practice of unscrupulous vendors of stealing a cat, putting it in a cloth sack, and selling it as a live suckling pig to unsuspecting buyers. This apparently was frequently successful, but if the buyer opened the sack to check the contents, they "let the cat out of the bag," and avoided being cheated.

jeffp


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Subject: RE: BS: curious expressions
From: GUEST,Mbo_at_ECU
Date: 29 Sep 00 - 01:10 PM

From P.G. Wodehouse "I turned him down like a bed sheet." "I wouldn't do it for you nor a hundred like you." Also my sister invented "He couldn't hit the backside of a barn."


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Subject: RE: BS: curious expressions
From: Barbara
Date: 29 Sep 00 - 01:14 PM

Interesting how things get bowlderized, Colwyn -- I know that expression as "cold enough to freeze the balls off a brass monkey".
enough to scare the peewadding out of someone
My mother's 'swear words':
Fiddlesticks
Oh, fishhooks!

Looking for something in plain sight:
If it was a snake it would'a bit you.

Another blacksmith bit: Going at it hammer and tongs.

Blessings,
Barbara


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Subject: RE: BS: curious expressions
From: SINSULL
Date: 29 Sep 00 - 01:18 PM

WHY??? Because "Y" is a crooked letter.
Overfilled plate syndrome = "pelicanitis" followed by
Pity the poor pelican
His beak can hold more than his belly can.
Hadn't thought of that in years.


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Subject: RE: BS: curious expressions
From: Allan C.
Date: 29 Sep 00 - 01:21 PM

Mbo, as for finding the banjo players, go west, young man. As I understand it they tend to stay far away from the salt air claiming that the salt rusts their strings and the moisture "plays hob with" their tuning. (God only knows how they could ever tell!)

This "hob" expression derives from hobgoblin from which we could infer a sense of mischief; as in, "makes mischief with".


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Subject: RE: BS: curious expressions
From: SINSULL
Date: 29 Sep 00 - 01:23 PM

"Wart on a pickle" to describe a man with a hat too small for his head or build.
"Whistling women and crowing hens
Will never come to any good end" or
"Crowing hens and whistling women wake the devil from his lair."

Nana believed it was bad luck for women to whistle. Also had some implication of keeping a woman in her place. Whistling is "men's work" HO HUM.

I am printing this one out. Poor gold to annoy the younger folk.


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Subject: RE: BS: curious expressions
From: Metchosin
Date: 29 Sep 00 - 01:25 PM

He can store in his beak
What will last him a week
But I do not know
How in the hell he can

Hadn't thpught of that one in a long time either Sinsull


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Subject: RE: BS: curious expressions
From: kendall
Date: 29 Sep 00 - 01:32 PM

BALDERDASH!!


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Subject: RE: BS: curious expressions
From: Bert
Date: 29 Sep 00 - 01:34 PM

Enuf's as good as a feast for blind 'orse wot can't see.


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Subject: RE: BS: curious expressions
From: GUEST,Mbo
Date: 29 Sep 00 - 01:45 PM

One of my mom's favorites "More problems than Carter's got pills". It took me a long time to understand that it was NOT referencing Jimmy Carter.


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Subject: RE: BS: curious expressions
From: jeffp
Date: 29 Sep 00 - 01:48 PM

Even a blind pig finds an acorn once in a while.


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Subject: RE: BS: curious expressions
From: mousethief
Date: 29 Sep 00 - 01:50 PM

I had an advantage over you, MBO, in that I heard the "more (whatever) than Carter's got pills" long before Jimmy Carter ever ran for president or otherwise appeared on the national radar screen. When I asked what the reference was, I was told it had to do with a product called "Carter's [Little] Liver Pills." Whatever THOSE are.

For some reason this stupid rhyme that my grandparents loved occurs to me just now:

Where was Moses when the lights went out?
Down in the cellar eating sauerkraut.

Never really understood what THAT was about.

Alex
O..O
=o=


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Subject: RE: BS: curious expressions
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 29 Sep 00 - 02:06 PM

Carter's Little Liver Pills were indeed a popular nostrum. I think they were a laxative. Their function had nothing whatsoever to do with the liver, which is why the Food and Drug Administration made them change the name. For a while they were marketed as Carter's Little Pills, but they soon became unpopular and disappeared.


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Subject: RE: BS: curious expressions
From: mousethief
Date: 29 Sep 00 - 02:23 PM

More curious expressions:

Nuttier than a fruitcake.

My tongue got tangled up with my eye-teeth and I couldn't see what I was saying.

Doesn't know his ass from a hole in the ground.

When they were handing out [brains] he thought they said [trains] and he said "make mine a [slow] one." (parts in brackets can be swapped out, depending on the insult you need to make! First 2 have to rhyme though!)

You'd forget your head if it wasn't tied on. (Similar to one somebody already said)

You're so full of shit your eyes are brown. (or hair, if their eyes aren't brown. Not sure what they'd say if neither were brown; but then again there was nobody in our family who didn't have brown hair!)

Alex
O..O
=o=


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Subject: RE: BS: curious expressions
From: catspaw49
Date: 29 Sep 00 - 02:31 PM

My grandparents swore by them Jim, as well as Fletcher's Castoria and Hadicol.

And back up there somewhere Colwyn Dane said, "Freeze the brass off a bald monkey." Well that one's unique! Now for those of you wanting to indulge in the ORIGINAL----"Freeze the Balls off a Brass Monkey" --- CLICK HERE

Spaw


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Subject: RE: BS: curious expressions
From: mousethief
Date: 29 Sep 00 - 02:38 PM

"As cold as (or colder than) a witch's tit." (with apologies to any Wiccans reading this!)


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Subject: RE: BS: curious expressions
From: Metchosin
Date: 29 Sep 00 - 02:38 PM

bert, you put me in mind of the following

It ain't the 'eavy 'aulin
That 'urts the 'orses 'ooves
Its the 'ammer 'ammer 'ammer
On the 'ard 'ighway


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Subject: RE: BS: curious expressions
From: kendall
Date: 29 Sep 00 - 03:11 PM

I believe Carters Pills were a diuretic, not a laxitive. Lydia Pinkham (patent medicine) the motto was, "There is a baby in every bottle."


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Subject: RE: BS: curious expressions
From: SINSULL
Date: 29 Sep 00 - 04:05 PM

There are more ways than one to skin a cat.
When god was handing out brains, he was hiding behind a tree.
Spaw, no link to cleyus and emptying piss from a boot???? See above.
He's having more trouble than a one-armed paper hanger.
Empty suit (Modern)
You have an ice cube's chance in hell...
When pigs fly (aptly used in another thread)
Chinese fire drill (I have no idea but my father used it to describe chaos)
Your mother wears combat boots (another, I have no idea but heard often)
If wishes were horses, we'd all take a ride
MY PERSONAL FAVORITE in response to the whine "It's not fair" - Life's not fair.


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Subject: RE: BS: curious expressions
From: Sourdough
Date: 29 Sep 00 - 04:27 PM

"Can't have your cake and eat it too" became easier for me to understand when I read it "You can't eatyour cake and have it too."

Is "gypped" a racist slur?

I was curious what "baited breath" was until I realized it must be "abated breath".

And then there is the saying, "It is the the exception that proves the rule." This is a wonderful example of how word meanings shift and the saying persists taking on an almost opposite meaning of the original. It must have originally relied on the listener to understand that "proves" was a synonym for "test". After all, that's where we get the word that is key to a trial (another word for "test"). What the folk wisdom originally was, was the observation that it is the exception that tests the rule. Today, more often than not, the phrase is used to dismiss evidence that seems to negate the rule, not a particularly sensible activity.

Sourdough


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Subject: RE: BS: curious expressions
From: radriano
Date: 29 Sep 00 - 04:33 PM

One of my favorites:

Colder than a brass toilet sea on the far side of an iceberg.


Radriano


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Subject: RE: BS: curious expressions
From: Lonesome EJ
Date: 29 Sep 00 - 04:49 PM

Sourdough,if a specific item is an "exception" to the rule,that means it differs from the assumed norm in such a way as to re-emphasize the accuracy of the assumed norm,thus "proving" it.

LEJ (flogging deceased horse)


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Subject: RE: BS: curious expressions
From: mousethief
Date: 29 Sep 00 - 04:51 PM

Ah, then the exception is a horse of a different color.

Alex
O..O
=o=


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Subject: RE: BS: curious expressions
From: paddymac
Date: 29 Sep 00 - 05:03 PM

"Slicker 'n deer guts on a door knob"

"crotch crickets" (pubic lice) (the japanese expression was 'chesai tomadachi' = 'little friends')

Somebody mentioned a "flat rock" above, which reminded me of a Florida country description of a heavy rain shower : "like a double-cunted cow pissin' on a flat rock."

Or a "chin wag" for a BS session.

Or "road apples" for horse turds. I actually found a box of dried horse turds once, called "Randy's Road Apples". Sure enough, each one was in a paper muffin cup, wrapped in colored cellophane and tied up with a bright ribbon. I actually bought the damned thing and sent it to an "earthy" aunt as a joke.


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Subject: RE: BS: curious expressions
From: radriano
Date: 29 Sep 00 - 05:04 PM

I grew up in Chicago and I remember occasionally seeing the following situation:

A car with several people in it would stop at a red light. Suddenly everyone would jump out of the car and run in circles around the car, in every direction. Just before the light turned green everyone jumped back in the car (not always in their previous seats) and the vehicle sped off. This was referred to as "a Chinese fire drill."

Other Chicago expressions:

"Why don't you take a flying f**k at a rolling doughnut!"
"You got a problem with that? I'll rip your face off!"


Radriano


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Subject: RE: BS: curious expressions
From: Sorcha
Date: 29 Sep 00 - 05:24 PM

Sourdough--yes, "gypped" is a slur. Refers to the fact that "gypsies" always screw you out of a fair deal. (Lorcan, don't get yer knickers in a twist, I don't believe this, and I am sure most 'Catters don't either!) Similar to "jewed me out of........"

Raining cats and dogs
"toad strangler" for hard rainstorm
"gully washer"--same
"curtain climbers", "rug rats", "pot bangers"--small children
"pot boiler"--stupid romance/mystery book or program
"prairie wood"--cow pies (dried cow shit)
"piss like a race horse on race day"


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Subject: RE: BS: curious expressions
From: Ebbie
Date: 29 Sep 00 - 05:54 PM

Sorcha, isn't it possible that 'gypped' refers to a gypo outfit? In other words, a small, non-union, usually family-owned logging or construction company. It occurs to me that they might have had no insurance either, so that if anything went wrong, the customer had no recourse.

Ebbie


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Subject: RE: BS: curious expressions
From: Dharmabum
Date: 29 Sep 00 - 05:59 PM

More nervous than a long tailed cat in a room full of rocking chairs. Ron.


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Subject: RE: BS: curious expressions
From: GUEST,Greyeyes
Date: 29 Sep 00 - 06:03 PM

I always understood that "cold enough to freeze the balls off a brass monkey" was originally a naval expression. A brass monkey was the rack on which canonballs were stored, and the original saying was "cold enough to freeze the balls ONTO a brass monkey".


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Subject: RE: BS: curious expressions
From: catspaw49
Date: 29 Sep 00 - 06:06 PM

I always liked, "Tighter than a bull's ass in fly time." Also, "Hotter than a popcorn fart." My partner and godd friend Denny used to say something was "Slicker than a mini's peter."

My Dad had this stupid litany of stuff he would drive you crazy with (yeah, its hereditary) such as, "Its colder in the country than it is in the winter." Now, if you said that to him, he'd respond, "What's that got to do with the price of tea in China?" Everytime it rained he asked, "Do you think the rain will hurt the rhubarb?" The correct response to this was, "Not if its in cans."

I come by it honestly folks.

Spaw


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Subject: RE: BS: curious expressions
From: Lonesome EJ
Date: 29 Sep 00 - 06:41 PM

Spaw,I'm not sure if your Dad was nuttier than a fruitcake or cornier than Kansas in July,but he certainly was a pistol,so I guess we know what that makes you,ya son of a gun.


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Subject: RE: BS: curious expressions
From: rabbitrunning
Date: 29 Sep 00 - 06:52 PM

I learned it "Colder 'n a witch's tit in a brass bra." (Not from a parent!) and I've always liked the description of a scoundrel as "lower than a snake's belly in a wagon rut."

When I was in the Air Force I was told that the whole nine yards referred to the amount of space that a military family was allowed to fill with household goods on a long move from base to base. It was certainly an expression that our sergeants used a LOT!


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Subject: RE: BS: curious expressions
From: radriano
Date: 29 Sep 00 - 07:16 PM

How about those "leaving" expressions like:


"Time to make like a baby and head out"
"Time to make like a hockey player and get the puck out"


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Subject: RE: BS: curious expressions
From: Mbo
Date: 29 Sep 00 - 07:19 PM

Make like a bread truck and HAUL BUNS.


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Subject: RE: BS: curious expressions
From: kendall
Date: 29 Sep 00 - 07:20 PM

Cold enough to freeze two dry rags together
Hotter than the hinges of Tofit
as nervous as a Christian Scientist with a severed artery.
Deaf as a haddock
Numb as a hake
as funny as Mothers Day in a orphanage. or Fathers day in Harlem. the snow was hub deep to a ferris wheel. harder than a brides bisquits Meaner than turkey turd tea.


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Subject: RE: BS: curious expressions
From: catspaw49
Date: 29 Sep 00 - 07:24 PM

Deader than an Apollonio 12 string.
Tinnier than a Taylor.
Dumber than a beardless downeaster.

Spaw


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Subject: RE: BS: curious expressions
From: kendall
Date: 29 Sep 00 - 07:27 PM

I know you are there Spaw, I'm ignoring you until you say something intelligent LOL


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Subject: RE: BS: curious expressions
From: radriano
Date: 29 Sep 00 - 07:31 PM

"About as useful as a screen door on a submarine"
"About as useful as waxed floors in a polio ward"
"Cold as a witch's tit on Holloween"


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Subject: RE: BS: curious expressions
From: Bill D
Date: 29 Sep 00 - 07:37 PM

"up the proverbial polluted estuary, lacking the customary means of locomotion"....(learned that'n in college!)

rainin' like a cow pissin' on a flat rock.....

and im my family, one who was upset in various ways could be "in a snit",or "having a hissy"..(or even a "hissy-fit"),

and my dad used the curious "sick a-bed on two chairs"....not sure whether that meant very sick, or faking sick, or having to pretend you weren't sick....


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Subject: RE: BS: curious expressions
From: Micca
Date: 29 Sep 00 - 07:38 PM

One that made me laugh a lot was a friend came in the pub and asked for a beer as his throat was "as dry as a nuns pussy"


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Subject: RE: BS: curious expressions
From: Sorcha
Date: 29 Sep 00 - 07:38 PM

I doubt it Ebbie. The root of the phrase is still the same. "Gyp"......as in non union people are gypsies, and will bug out.........whoops, there's another one.


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Subject: RE: BS: curious expressions
From: Dharmabum
Date: 29 Sep 00 - 07:41 PM

As funny as a pay toilet in the diareha ward.


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Subject: RE: BS: curious expressions
From: radriano
Date: 29 Sep 00 - 07:50 PM

A variation:

"I see," said the blind man, as he took out his hammer and saw.


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Subject: RE: BS: curious expressions
From: DougR
Date: 29 Sep 00 - 08:05 PM

Rabbitrunning: Yep we said "catty corner." Another one: When describing some hell hole of a town, "If the devil was gonna give the world an enima, he'd give it in (name of the town). Our First Sergeant's favorite saying when perturbed: "you better give your heart to God, 'cause I'm gonna get your ass! and I want those boot shining like a diamond in a cat's ass!"

Don't know if anyone explained where, "Holy Mackerel" came from. Anybody know?

DougR


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Subject: RE: BS: curious expressions
From: Allan C.
Date: 29 Sep 00 - 10:17 PM

This thread is continued here.


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Subject: RE: BS: curious expressions
From: Little Hawk
Date: 29 Sep 00 - 10:18 PM

Ever seen the movie with Willie Nelson and Robert Redford (I think...), where Willie says, apropos of nothing in particular..."Me, I'm gonna go find one of those Chino girls who can suck the chrome off a trailer hitch, and just kick back for awhile..."

God how I laughed! Apparently, it WASN'T in the script. Willie just came up with it, cos he felt like it. Everybody liked it so much that they left it in the final cut. Wish I could remember the name of that movie.

Mbo - thanks for the Sam Weller stuff!!! Great!

kendall - You're waiting for Spaw to say something intelligent???? You poor, poor, deluded soul...


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Subject: RE: BS: curious expressions
From: Lonesome EJ
Date: 29 Sep 00 - 11:32 PM

Hawk...the Electric Horseman


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Subject: RE: BS: curious expressions
From: GUEST, Banjo Johnny
Date: 30 Sep 00 - 02:22 AM

I risk opening a whole n'other can of worms with the following:

First Person: I bear a distinctively masculine air.

Second Person: You could use a shower, pardner.

Third Person: He stinks like a dead goat.


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Subject: RE: BS: curious expressions
From: WyoWoman
Date: 30 Sep 00 - 08:54 PM

Thread is getting longish. Go here for Expressions: Part Deux

ww


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