Posted by ESC on January 24, 2002 at
In Reply to: Walking spanish posted by Bruce Kahl on January 24, 2002
: : What does the phrase "walking
spanish" mean and where did you obtain this knowledge?
: : Thank you
: To walk Spanish is to be taken by the scruff of the neck and the seat of the pants and removed swiftly against ones own wishes.
: Walking (someone ) Spanish [Walking Spanish ] 1. To force someone to leave, usu. from a public place, by lifting him by his coat or shirt collar to a walking position and propelling him toward the door (Dictionary Of American Slang, Wentworth/ Flexner ) 2. Being in the act of doing something you don't want to do. So, to paraphrase the example Waits himself gave, a guy reaching for his wallet after being told to do so by a mugger would be "walking spanish" as he did so. (This example from the publicity LP release of Rain Dogs, in which Waits talks about the theme of each of the songs in turn.) In the instance of the song itself, then, the guy is on death row and is only walking to the chair because he has to: hence he's "walking spanish". (Tom Waits Digest, Seth Nielssen ) 3. To make a man walk Spanish is to give him the sack; to give him his discharge. In 1885 one of the retired captains in the Trinity House Establishment said, "If I had to deal with the fellow, I would soon make him walk Spanish, I warrant you."
I get my knowledge from books. Mostly. This is from the Morris Dictionary of Word and Phrase Origins by William and Mary Morris (HarperCollins Publishers, New York, 1977): "walk Spanish -- In the days of piracy on the Spanish Main, a favorite trick of pirates was to lift their captives by the scruff of the neck and make them walk with their toes barely touching the deck. It was a painful experience, especially since the walk was punctuated with lusty blows from behind."