Posted by R.Berg on April 30, 2003
In Reply to: Coopers ducks posted by Bob on April 30, 2003
: : : My mother was born at Tipton near Birmingham England in 1914 and migrated to Australia sbout 1930.
: : : She had an expresison "it's coopers ducks" which meant that it was the end of something. "If you don't do blah or if blah happens then it's coopers ducks".
: : : Does anyone know the origin of this expression. I suspect it is an English expression rather than something she picked up in Australia
: : I don't know the origin but there's a nice example of its usage at http://www.eolfhs.org.uk/docs/QuartPot.pdf on p. 17. For those who can't read PDF files, the document in an autobiography written by Londoner Benjamin Towndrow (1843 - 1904) and the relevant passage for the year 1858 is: 'He said He had bein Fishing all day in the rain and all he cought was a rare cold so he thought it was good enough to turn it up so he was in the act of pulling is pipe and tobacco out of his pocket when out came a Half Sovereign and into the water it whent 'Coopers Ducks' so that made things wors'
: one of those rare phrases with only 1 Google hit, the story above. There's delightful upolished diary stuff in that story. With a little work, it'd make a good audition piece for an actor.
"A Dictionary of Slang and Unconventional English," by Eric Partridge, has a short entry for "be with Cooper's ducks":
"To be all over with: London butchers' ( -- 1902); slightly ob. Apperson from 'Notes and Queries'. Presumably of anecdotal origin."