Posted by Lotg (OZ) on July 07, 2004
In Reply to: Bat n ball posted by dhm on July 07, 2004
: : : : : I was just joking with my Swedish-Australian buddy, and I told her that I've had enough, and I'm gonna pick up my bat n ball & go home. She didn't understand.
: : : : : I'm laying odds this originated from cricket - but does anyone now?
: : : : This means 'pick up your things and go home'?
: : :
: : : Yes, it's sort of a dummy spit. ie. I don't want to play any more, or I don't want to do this any more.
: : It's a phrase children would say when things aren't going their way in a game, and I remember saying it as a child. If I brought the football to the game and I was being a sore loser, or if the other team isn't playing fair, I'd say "I'm going to take my ball and go home."
: : Thus, the rest couldn't play any longer and the fun is over. It's a threat.
Sorry DHM. I think about 75% of my conversational English is comprised of slang. It's an Ocker thing I suppose. (Ocker being an extreme Aussie, eg. from the bush, working class, etc.).
Anyway, a dummy spit is a bit like a selfish temper tantrum (not that I can imagine an unselfish temper tantrum I suppose). Like a baby who doesn't want his dummy and keeps spitting it out. It's just slang for saying - no no no, I don't want to do it, or I don't want it and really um, throwing a wobbly, or chucking a darkie (two more slang expressions for throwing a tantrum).
So if you're playing a team game and you don't want to play things the way everyone else is, you'd do a dummy spit and say I'm taking my bat and ball and going home - thus, as Charlie said, making a threat and ruining the game for everyone else. But as well as games, it's also used in other group circumstances such as meetings, where again, if you decide to walk out you could potentially ruin the meeting.
Having said all that, I still don't know its origins. Ward told me he thought it eminated from baseball. But I suggested to Ward that I've been hearing and saying this since I was a kid, and as a kid growing up in Australia I virtually never heard of baseball until I was in my teens. Cricket was our thing. Hence I assumed it was a carry over from our british heritage. But that doesn't mean my parents didn't learn the term via baseball of course. Although I would think it less likely they'd be influenced by baseball than cricket.