kicking and screaming

Posted by Marian on February 24, 2002

In Reply to: Kicking and screaming posted by R. Berg on February 23, 2002

: : Can anyone tell me the meaning of the phrase "kicking and screaming into existence?"

: Hard to interpret without more context, but I'll try. These words suggest a baby being born--not that babies don't exist before birth, only that birth gives them more of a socially recognized identity. If the phrase is about something abstract, the "birth" is less literal. It might simply mean "reluctantly coming to exist." "Kicking and screaming" is a cliché used when somebody is making somebody else do something, and the latter person is fighting against doing it. It often appears after "dragged." "The protesters were dragged kicking and screaming out of the courthouse."

I recall that a fairly feisty, somewhat left-of-center student body president named Don Smith at Iowa State University in Ames, Iowa in the 1960s or 70s who was quoted as being ready to "drag Iowa State kicking and screaming into the 20th century." I can't recall the context of his remark, however.