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Go to Grass and Chew Hay

Posted by ESC on July 29, 2006

In Reply to: Go to Grass and Chew Hay posted by ESC on July 29, 2006

: : : when my mother would get upset with my dad, she would tell him to:
: : : Go to Grass and Chew Hay.
: : : Any ideas on what this might mean?

: : I have an idea, or actually two. Go to grass means here (but not necessarily elsewhere), go out in the pasture. Chew hay is what horses and cows do in their stalls. What she presumably means is "Get out of my hair. Go do your thing, leave me to do mine. Find somewhere else to be." But this is not, as far as I know, a well-known saying, and since I don't know your mother I could be very wrong.
: : SS

: I love this site. I had an idea that "go to grass" means "put out to pasture." As in when a horse is too old to race or work. A google led me back here to Phrase Finder. Of course. Here is a bunch of information about the origins and the complete verse. bulletin_board 10 messages 459.html

That link doesn't seem to be working, so I am pasting in:

Eric Partridge, Dictionary of Catch Phrases: American and British, from the Sixteenth Century to the Present Day, has an entry for this:

: : : "'go to grass!' is, said Hotten in 1859, 'a common answer to a troublesome or inquisitive person': obsolete by . . . 1900 in UK, it lingered in US until c. 1920, and in Aus. so late as the 1940s. Said to have been orig. US. Perhaps from putting an old horse out to grass."

: : : But in current use it MIGHT mean to deteriorate, as a garden goes to grass (weeds) when not tended--just my opinion.

: : You have just a piece of it as the full expression is "Go to grass and eat hay." It means "go away and stop bothering me."

: : Go climb a tree,
: : Go jump in the lake,
: : Take a flying leap,
: : Take a long walk off a short pier,
: : Go fly a kite
: : Go chase yourself
: : They all mean "go away, leave me alone."

: Dry up and flake off (my now dead brother)
: Go to grass and eat it (my now dead grandmother)

Make like a tree and leave.
Go tell your mother she wants you.
Put an egg in your shoe and beat it.
Here's your hat, what's your hurry.
Don't let the door hit you in the #@* (OR)
Don't let the door hit you where the Good Lord split you.

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