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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
Quincy 28 Sep 00 - 07:05 PM
Liz the Squeak 28 Sep 00 - 07:10 PM
DougR 28 Sep 00 - 07:12 PM
kendall 28 Sep 00 - 07:33 PM
kendall 28 Sep 00 - 07:33 PM
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
SINSULL 28 Sep 00 - 09:32 PM
catspaw49 28 Sep 00 - 09:51 PM
rube1 28 Sep 00 - 10:18 PM
Helen 28 Sep 00 - 10:42 PM
Troll 28 Sep 00 - 10:47 PM
Mbo 28 Sep 00 - 10:53 PM
catspaw49 28 Sep 00 - 10:57 PM
Metchosin 28 Sep 00 - 11:04 PM
CamiSu 28 Sep 00 - 11:15 PM
Harold W 28 Sep 00 - 11:18 PM
MsMoon 28 Sep 00 - 11:22 PM
bbelle 28 Sep 00 - 11:25 PM
MsMoon 28 Sep 00 - 11:27 PM
MsMoon 28 Sep 00 - 11:29 PM
Mbo 28 Sep 00 - 11:32 PM
ddw 28 Sep 00 - 11:34 PM
MsMoon 28 Sep 00 - 11:35 PM
MsMoon 28 Sep 00 - 11:37 PM
GUEST,homesick 28 Sep 00 - 11:39 PM
MsMoon 28 Sep 00 - 11:44 PM
MsMoon 28 Sep 00 - 11:52 PM
Lonesome EJ 29 Sep 00 - 12:42 AM
Barbara 29 Sep 00 - 03:18 AM
Gervase 29 Sep 00 - 05:27 AM
GUEST,Fibula Mattock 29 Sep 00 - 06:06 AM
Micca 29 Sep 00 - 07:19 AM
Quincy 29 Sep 00 - 08:25 AM
Dharmabum 29 Sep 00 - 08:42 AM
SINSULL 29 Sep 00 - 08:50 AM

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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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