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Re: Deuce

Posted by R. Berg on October 29, 2001

In Reply to: Re: Consarn posted by ESC on October 29, 2001

: : Here's one I've always wondered about. I don't even know how it's spelled. It's used in phrases like "that carn sarn car won't start" or "carn sarn it!" kind of like "dang nab" or "dog gone".

: : I've also always like the phrases "Sink me!" used by Nigel Bruce in the movie "The Scarlet Pimpernel" and the declarations "What the Deuce?" or "The Deuce you say!" Any ideas on their origins?

: consarn -- Damn, darn. "Consarn it!" From "Whistlin' Dixie: A Dictionary of Southern Expressions" by Robert Hendrickson (Pocket Books, New York, 1993).

: Another source says "consarn" is "concern" and has several meanings but only the equivalent of concern is listed. I don't know if the two "consarns" are connected. From "Smoky Mountain Voices: A Lexicon of Southern Appalachian Speech Based on the Research of Horace Kephart," edited by Harold J. Farwell Jr., and J. Karl Nicholas (University Press of Kentucky, Lexington, Ky., 1993).

"Deuce" began to be used with the meaning "bad luck, plague, mischief" in the mid-17th century (Oxford English Dictionary) in such phrases as "The deuce upon him!" By the late 17th century it was being used to mean the devil as the personification of mischief, etc., as in "The deuce take him!"