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The pits

Posted by ESC on June 16, 2010 at 20:28

In Reply to: The pits posted by ESC on June 16, 2010 at 20:13:

: : Does anyone know the origin of the phrase "This is the pits?"

: I was thinking pits as in the depths of despair. But two references say it is pits as in armpits. The expression is "Mainstream 1960s," according to "Flappers 2 Rappers: American Youth Slang" by Tom Dalzell (Merriam-Webster Inc., Springfield, Md., 1996), Page 119. It was first used in the late 1970s, according to "Listening to America" by Stuart Berg Flexner (Simon and Schuster, New York, 1982), Page 298.

Then there's reference No. 3 that puts it back to the 1950s and says it relates to 1. the depths of despair (what I said) and 2. a situation, object or person who is "totally undesirable." "Cassell's Dictionary of Slang" by Jonathon Green (Wellington House, London, 1998). Page 923. All three agree that it is a U.S. expression.