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Re: If it harelips every cannibal

Posted by ESC on November 13, 2008 at 21:42

In Reply to: If it harelips every cannibal posted by Bill on November 13, 2008 at 16:37:

: The phrase in question includes the words: "...if it harelips every cannibal.". I know of two references, both in Stanley Kubrick films (Dr. Strangelove and Full Metal Jacket) and both by military characters. It appears to be an expression of determination despite great difficulty, equivalent to phrases like "come hell or high water" or "if it takes all day." An example may be "I'll get this engine running if it harelips every cannibal in the Yukon." The geographic location may or may not have any bearing on the actual location of the engine. Any thoughts?

"I will get them doors open if it harelips
everybody on Bear Creek!" And I seem to remember from somewhere, "If it harelips everybody in the South." It is one of those phrases that is so colorful but so offensive. Harelip is a verb meaning to disfigure, destroy -- used in various phrases suggesting dire consequences, according to the "Dictionary of American Regional English," Volume II, D-H, by Frederic G. Cassidy and Joan Houston Hall (1991, Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, Cambridge, Mass., and London, England), Page 909. The earliest citation is 1960.