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cooter brown

Posted by ESC on February 03, 2000

In Reply to: cooter brown posted by ESC on February 03, 2000

: : : Does anyone know the origin of this expression? Was Cooter Brown a real or ficticious character? I left out the expression...oops. "Drunker than Cooter Brown."

And I left out my response. It must be catching.

I first heard that expression said by Dolly Parton's character in "Best Little w h o r ehouse in Texas." The saying is listed in "Whistlin' Dixie: A Dictionary of Southern Expressions" by Robert Hendrickson (Pocket Books, New York, 1993): "drunk as Cooter Brown; drunker than Cooter Brown -- Very drunk indeed. Who the proverbial Cooter Brown is no one seems to know, but this may have originally been a black expression from the Carolinas. 'In Texas we'd call him drunker than Cooter Brown.'"
Listed along with this were some other interesting phrases: "drunk as a coot," the coot "being an American duck noted for its laugh-like cry" and "drunker than who shot John." I heard something similar to that last expression in a movie. Two family members started arguing and the mother said, "Don't start that 'who shot John.'"