Posted by ESC on November 25, 2005
In Reply to: COTTON PICKING HANDS posted by Patrick on November 25, 2005
: Please, what is the origin/meaning of COTTON PICKING HANDS? Thanks for your help!
COTTON-PICKING - as an adjective cotton-picking "is widespread as a term of disparagement. Damned, darned." From the "Dictionary of American Regional English," Volume 1 by Frederic G. Cassidy (1985, Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, Cambridge, Mass., and London, England).
A variation is "pea picking" hands. I am guessing both phrases have their origins in agriculture. Indicating that someone with rural roots, who has actually did stoop labor and picked the above, is a lesser being.