Walking Spanish

Posted by ESC on January 04, 2005

In Reply to: PK? posted by Bruce Kahl on January 04, 2005

: : : : : P. Krugman uses this phrase as follows: 'The people who hustled American into a tax cut to eliminate an imaginary budget surplus and a war to eliminate imaginary weapons are now trying another bum's rush.' Though there are some comments about the phrase in the archives I don't find them very helpful. Thanks for any additional help.

: : : : Bum's rush is typically used to indicate the way you hustle someone OUT as you would a bum (down-and-outer probably trying to cadge something--money or drinks). Paul Krugman (a professor of economics at Princeton University) is emphasizing the hustle aspect, rushing the country or its poulation into something before they have time to think about it, the way you would hustle a bum out the door. I can't say I like the usage, although Krugman is a refreshingly honest and well-informed commentator for the New York Times (at the moment on vacation or hiatus). SS

: : : There is a similar phrase that one might hear now and then, and I think it's worth mentioning at this time. It's called "bum rush" and it's a verb as in to "bum rush" the saloon on payday.

: : : There's a link to Random House "Words at Random" where they discuss both phrases:
: : : www.randomhouse.com

: : SS -- PK is back. The quote is from today's NYT.

: Who or what is "PK"?

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."

: (Brewer's Dictionary of Phrase and Fable)