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Re: "If you don't like it, you can lump it"

Posted by R. Berg on September 05, 2001

In Reply to: Re: Meaning and origin of . . . posted by Bruce Kahl on September 05, 2001

: : "If you don't like it, you can lump it."

: Your phrase is spoken to someone who does not like a certain situation, thing or occasion and complains about it.
: For instance, a father buys his daughter an expensive blue cell phone and she complains that she wanted a BLACK cell phone.
: The father gets a bit aggravated and sez "If you dont like it, you can lump it".
: I do not know the origin but I know and love the daughter very much.

Eric Partridge's "Dictionary of Catch Phrases" has an entry for this one, together with ". . . you may do the other thing": "'If you don't like it, you'll just have to put up with it.' The two recorded forms date from at least as early as c. 1860. . . . Dickens, 1864, 'If you don't like it, it's open to you to lump it.' The 'lump' version was adopted from the US, where it had been current for at least a generation. There is--inevitably--an earthier version: it is 'if you don't like it, you can stick it up your arse' . . . which arose prob. c. 1890, or poss. even c. 1860."

Turning now to the Oxford English Dictionary to find out whether "lump" has ever been a verb that means "to stick something up one's arse," I find that the relevant sense of "lump" has nothing to do with inserting objects into orifices. The definition has two parts:

LUMP, v. [Of symbolic sound; cf. DUMP, GLUMP, GRUMP, HUMP, MUMP.]
1. intr. To look sulky or disagreeable . . .
[Quotation:] 1577 "They stand lumping and lowring . . . for that they imagine that their evill lucke proceedeth of him."
2. trans. In antithesis with "like": To be displeased at (something that must be endured), colloq.
[Quotations:] 1833 "Let 'em lump it if they don't like it." . . . 1878 "I'll buy clothes as I see fit, and if anybody don't like it, why they may lump it, that's all."