Posted by Victoria S Dennis on October 09, 2005
In Reply to: Re: Jew him down posted by Smokey Stover on October 08, 2005
: : : : : : : : I like to know where the phrase came from - "Jew him/them down". Don't sound very nice, but need to know.
: : : : : : : It means to haggle, and yes, it does come from the stereotype of Jews being stingy and hard-nosed businessmen.
: : : : : : Haven't heard that in the US for decades. Maybe 40 years. It's verrrrrrrrrrrry offensive speech hereabouts.
: : : : : Here in the UK too. However, "very offensive" doesn't equal "never used", sadly.
: : : : In defense of people (usually older generation) who use this phrase, I believe they don't realize that it is offensive. They speak without thinking. Others: Dutch treat, Welch on a deal, that's white of you.
: : : A Jewish friend of mine has used this phrase, with a sly grin.
: : Let me clarify: My friend used the phrase only among his friends, and everyone was aware that he was being a "bad boy" by saying it. I don't think he uses it anymore, having matured.
: I grew up in a less politically correct age, so remember that when throwing something at my head. As regards "jewing him down": I've seen it rephrased, "jawing him down," probably a deliberate effort to save the expression by misspelling it. As regards "welching on a deal," preferred is "welshing on a deal," far more politically incorrect. Just to be sure, I looked up one of the nursery rhymes I surprisingly remember. Unsurprisingly, I seem to have remembered it incorrectly as:
: Taffy was a Welshman,
: Taffy was a thief;
: Taffy came to my house
: And stole a leg of beef.
: I went to Taffy's house;
: Taffy wasn't home;
: Taffy came to my house,
: And stole a marrowbone.
: I went to Taffy's house,
: Taffy was in bed.
: I took the marrowbone
: And hit him on the head.
: If you Google the nursery rhyme you'll find a different version. My memory is all right, just the words are wrong. SS
- Smokey, there are no wrong words to a nursery rhyme, just different ones. Even if you're the only person in the English-speaking world who knows the rhyme that way, it's a legitimate variant. (VSD)