Posted by ESC on April 03, 2008 at 23:06:
In Reply to: Molly grottles posted by RRC on April 03, 2008 at 21:30:
: : As to the phrase "molly grottles". Relating to sickness or illness, my mother used to ask, "do you have the molly grottles?" My spelling is approximately as it sounds. She is of German decent, but did not speak German.
: To mollycoddle is "to treat with an excessive or absurd degree of indulgence and attention" (m-w.com). Mothers tend to pamper their sick children, an illness that required such mollycoddling might be humorously called "the mollycoddles".
From the PBS Do You Speak American site. Original source: The Dictionary of American Regional English.
mulligrubs n pl Also mollygrooms, mollygrubs, muddigrubs, mullygrubs, mullygrumps; rarely sg mulligrub [OED 1599 '!] Cf collywobbles
1 A condition of despondency or ill temper; a vague or imaginary unwellness. scattered, but esp Sth See Map1806 Webster Compendious Dict. 197, Mull2 igrubs . . a twisting of the guts, sullenness. [DARE Ed: This entry was carried over from Webster ' s English model.] 1834 Life Andrew Jackson 95 ME, They was sittin snug round their camp fires fillin their kittles and makin coffy when another kind of Coffy [=General Coffy] was a preparin which giv ' d considerable of them the mulligrubs. 1838 Kettell Yankee Notions 96, All the bitter diseases that flesh is heir to,-. . megrims, mulligrubs, . . and all sorts of diabolical despondencies. 1898 Lloyd Country Life 131 AL, I had the mullygrubs and Sandy he had the botts. 1899 Green VA Folk-Speech 291, Mulligrubs. . . Ill temper, sulkiness; the sulks: as, to have the mulligrubs. 1909 DN 3.351 eAL, wGA, Mulligrubs. . . A fit of bad humor, the blues. 1913 Kephart Highlanders 297 sAppalachians, I knowed in reason she ' d have the mullygrubs over them doin ' s. 1944 PADS 2.25 cwNC, cwOH, Mollygrubs, to have. . . To be slightly unwell or upset; to have the blues. In N.C.: mullygrubs. 1944 PADS 2.30 eKY, Mullygrubs . . . Despondency. " He ' s in the mullygrubs this morning. " . . Common. 1950 WELS (Joking or fantastic names for imaginary diseases: " I guess he ' s got the _____. " ) 1 Inf, ceWI, Mollygrooms. 1962 Steinbeck Travels 197, We ' d be lousy explorers. A few days out and we get the mullygrubs. 1965- 70 DARE (Qu. BB28, Joking names . . for imaginary diseases: " He must have the _____. " ) 39 Infs, chiefly Sth, Mulligrubs; GA72, Mollygrubs; NY205, He ' s got a mulligrub; (Qu. GG34a, To feel depressed or in a gloomy mood: " He has the _____today. " ) 21 Infs, scattered, but esp Sth, Mulligrubs; AL41, Mulligrubs, muddigrubs; [GA74, Hubbigrubs]; (Qu. BB5, A general feeling of discomfort or illness that isn ' t any one place in particular) Infs AR33, GA13, 33, 77, MA5, Mulligrubs; NC82, Got the mulligrubs; AL41, Muddigrubs; AL4, Mullygrumps; (Qu. BB39, On a day when you don ' t feel just right, though not actually sick . . " I ' ll be all right tomorrow-I ' m just feeling _____today. " ) Inf NC72, Got the mulligrubs; (Qu. GG27b, To get somebody out of an unhappy mood . . " Don ' t _____. " ) Infs GA77, OK9, Have the mulligrubs; GA67, Give way to the mulligrubs; [(Qu. GG35b, [To sulk or pout:] " Because she couldn ' t go, she ' s been _____all day. " ) Inf NY1, Eating mulligrubs].
2 Spec:a Pain in the stomach or intestines; diarrhea. 1806 [see 1 above]. 1899 Green VA Folk-Speech 291, Mulligrubs. . . A pain in the intestines; colic. 1930 Shoemaker 1300 Words 40 cPA Mts (as of c1900), Mullygrumps-An attack of indigestion or stomach ache. 1966 DARE (Qu. BB19, Joking names for looseness of the bowels) Inf MS33, Mulligrubs. 1990 Cavender Folk Med. Lexicon 27 sAppalachians, Mullygrubs-[sometimes pronounced as " mollygrubs " ] . . hunger pains or growling sounds made by the stomach when hungry. b Menstruation.1966- 67 DARE (Qu. AA27, . . A woman ' s menstruation) Infs AL30, MS45, Mulligrubs.
Source: Dictionary of American Regional English, Harvard University