Lump it

Posted by ESC on September 06, 2001

In Reply to: "If you don't like it, you can lump it" posted by R. Berg on September 05, 2001

: : : "If you don't like it, you can lump it."

: : Your phrase is spoken to someone who does not like a certain situation, thing or occasion and complains about it.
: : For instance, a father buys his daughter an expensive blue cell phone and she complains that she wanted a BLACK cell phone.
: : The father gets a bit aggravated and sez "If you dont like it, you can lump it".
: : I do not know the origin but I know and love the daughter very much.

: Eric Partridge's Dictionary of Catch Phrases: American and British, from the Sixteenth Century to the Present Day has an entry for this one, together with ". . . you may do the other thing": "'If you don't like it, you'll just have to put up with it.' The two recorded forms date from at least as early as c. 1860. . . . Dickens, 1864, 'If you don't like it, it's open to you to lump it.' The 'lump' version was adopted from the US, where it had been current for at least a generation. There is--inevitably--an earthier version: it is 'if you don't like it, you can stick it up your arse' . . . which arose prob. c. 1890, or poss. even c. 1860."

: Turning now to the Oxford English Dictionary to find out whether "lump" has ever been a verb that means "to stick something up one's arse," I find that the relevant sense of "lump" has nothing to do with inserting objects into orifices. The definition has two parts:

: LUMP, v. [Of symbolic sound; cf. DUMP, GLUMP, GRUMP, HUMP, MUMP.]
: 1. intr. To look sulky or disagreeable . . .
: [Quotation:] 1577 "They stand lumping and lowring . . . for that they imagine that their evill lucke proceedeth of him."
: 2. trans. In antithesis with "like": To be displeased at (something that must be endured), colloq.
: [Quotations:] 1833 "Let 'em lump it if they don't like it." . . . 1878 "I'll buy clothes as I see fit, and if anybody don't like it, why they may lump it, that's all."

The Oxford Dictionary of Modern Slang by John Ayto (Oxford University Press, Oxford & New York, 1999) has a couple of "lump" entries:
1. lump - US; applied to a parcel of food given to a tramp.To travel as a vagrant, carrying one's possessions.
2. lump - Usually in the phrase 'lump it'; often in the phrase 'like it or lump it': from earlier obsolete sense, sulk.