Posted by Baceseras on November 02, 2007
In Reply to: Mouth full of rooster posted by Smokey Stover on November 02, 2007
: : : I'm looking for the meaning and/or origin of the phrase "mouth full of rooster". I heard the phrase on an episode of The Little Rascals. Stymie was quoted as saying "you said a mouth full of rooster brother". I love the phrase and I say it all of the time now but I am not sure if it is derogatory or demeaning in any way. Just wanted to check before I continue saying it.
: : Bear in mind that "rooster" is a synonym for "cock"; consider what the phrase would mean if you made that substitution; and then decide for yourself whether that would be derogatory or demeaning before continuing to use it. You might want to avoid saying it to anyone much bigger or stronger than you, as well as to anyone prim and respectable. (VSD)
: Yes, but bear in mind also that Stymie, one of the "Little Rascals," actually did say, "Mister, that sho is a mouthful of rooster." He undoubtedly meant chicken. It's a long time since I have seen any episodes of the "Little Rascals," but I suspect that it was an idiosyncrasy of Stymie to say "rooster" where most people would say chicken. Also, this movie series played out in a time when "you said a mouthful" was a common expression. I think it is still occasionally heard. I think it may also be an idiosyncrasy of Stymie to have completed the phrase as, "You said a mouthful of rooster." But I would need to see an actual episode of the series, with Stymie, to be sure.
: In those days it was considered humorous to render blacks, including black children, according to the stereotype. On "Our Gang," the other name of "The Little Rascals," the numerous black kids would mangle the English language and sometimes refer to their dads' being in jail. Their preferred food was watermelon and fried chicken (presumably Stymie's "rooster").
: The character of "Stymie" was played by Matthew Beard, Jr., from 1930 to 1935, when he was replaced by "Buckwheat." (The series was made with fresh episodes from 1922 to 1944.) See, inter alia:
I also would have to see an episode of The Little Rascals with Stymie saying the phrase. Until then, I can only guess that the substitution of "rooster" for "chicken" might have been meant to suggest something tough to chew and swallow. The relation between the literal and figurative meaning could then be similar to that of "hard cheese" (http://www.phrases.org.uk/meanings/hard-cheese.html). If that's the case, Stymie's extended meanign may be:
YOU SAID A MOUTHFUL ... --- "I strongly affirm what you say ..."
... A MOUTHFUL OF ROOSTER --- "... what you say is mighty bad news, or grim prophecy, or some such tale of woe."