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Bull roar

Posted by Smokey Stover on April 02, 2009 at 18:58

In Reply to: Bull roar posted by ESC on April 02, 2009 at 08:38:

: : Bull roar (as used by Smokey Stover): On some level, the phrase makes sense without explanation. But it would be nice to know. Does it refer to the roaring of a bull, i.e., a beast-brained aggressive and protective bunch of loud noise; is it a substitution of one end of the animal for the other (issuance thereof); does it come in any way from bullroarer (checked wikipedia); or what?

: I wasn't in on the previous discussion. But here's what I know. Bullroar or bull-roarer -- a noisemaker consisting of a slat of wood attached to a thong and whirled in the air. It is a child's toy (also called a buzzer or dumb bull), used as a ceremonial rites and as a noisemaker used at a shivaree. From "Dictionary of American Regional English," Volume 1 by Frederic G. Cassidy (1985, Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, Cambridge, Mass., and London, England). Page 451.

I'm not the inventor or coiner of bull roar, but I use it the way I first heard it, to mean sound and fury, signifying nothing. Of course, an actual bull is not signifying nothing when it roars, so perhaps the expression also signifies nothing. It is used primarily where a less refined person might say B.S. or some reasonable facsimile.

I am familiar with bull-roarer, but it's obviously not the same thing.