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American phrases

Posted by Kamela on November 09, 1999

In Reply to: American phrases posted by John Semion on June 04, 1999

: I concur that, except for 23 skidoo, all of these phrases are in current use. I can add a couple of bits of information.

: "23 skidoo" means scram, beat it, go away. I think I've heard the origin, but I don't recall what it was.

: "Cup of Joe" is pretty common in the San Francisco area, enough so that until recently there was a coffee house nearby named "Cuppa Joe". It's also pretty much the only phrase used for "cup of coffee" by a friend who grew up in Mississippi, and sounds like it.

: "Hang ten" I'm not familiar with any use of this phrase other than its literal one. An expert surfer, having caught a wave and stood up on the board, can sometimes move to the front of the board and hang all ten toes over the edge, a physical feat requiring skill and generally luck as well.

: "Get your ducks in a row." I don't think there's much of an inconsistency between the current usage and the origin described. The original point of getting your ducks in a row was to allow someone to roll a bowling ball at them. A straightforward extension is the desire to be properly prepared for an upcoming event.

: I've always assumed that the origin of "druthers" is a corruption of "I'd rather". Thus "If I had my druthers" means "If I got to do what I'd rather do". I've never seen that documented, though.

: Thanks for an interesting and useful site.