Posted by ESC on September 24, 2003
In Reply to: Re: Feel your oats posted by TheRecentlyReturnedFallen on September 24, 2003
: : Hay, can you please tell me what the meaning and origin of this phrase is. tanks ,sax
: I can't be definite at all, but the word "oats" is figuratively and humorously used to refer to sexual relations, as in "sowing one's wild oats" or the (British?) slang "Did you get your oats last night?". Feeling one's oats may therefore mean feeling lustful.
I am guessing that it started out as a horse saying - a horse was feeling his oats, reacting to the food energy in his oats. One source indirectly says that: FULL OF PRUNES (OR BEANS) -"Each has the same meaning - peppy, lively, energetic, in high spirits, feeling one's oats, rarin' to go. 'Beans' was the first, and was originally said of horses after a feeding of beans raised for fodder - horse beans. Undoubtedly the spirited state of a bean-fed horse was observed in remote times - Romans also used beans as fodder - but I find nothing equivalent to the current expression before its own rise less than a hundred years ago. (Note publication date of reference.).The substitution of 'prunes' came into use at least seventy years ago, but a satisfactory reason for it is difficult to determine." From "Heavens to Betsy" (1955, Harper & Row) by Charles Earle Funk.
"He's feeling his Cheerios" was a slogan for the breakfast cereal from 1950-53, according to the General Mills site.