Posted by ESC on October 31, 2003
In Reply to: All Get Out posted by El Heffe on October 31, 2003
: Has anyone heard the term "All Get Out".
: Example; Fast as all get out.
: or Smart as all get out.
: Can't figure this one out.
all get-out - "To an extreme degree or extent. 'He's mad as all get-out.' The expression is frequently heard in other regions as well." From "Mountain Range: A Dictionary of Expressions from Appalachia to the Ozarks" by Robert Hendrickson (Volume IV, Facts on File Dictionary of American Regional Expressions, Facts on File, New York, N.Y.,1997).
Another example: This candy is sour as all get-out.
Taking a guess at the origin -- mountain people are very hospitable. (Or at least they were during my time there.) A guest would have to do something extreme to the point of horrendous to be told, "Get out!!" So "get-out" took on the meaning, "extreme." Or maybe "all get-out" originally meant someone running full-out, very fast.