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Tough bananas

Posted by Smokey Stover on November 07, 2009 at 17:21

In Reply to: Tough bananas posted by ESC on November 06, 2009 at 12:31:

: : : : My dad says, "tough bananas" all the time in place of "too bad". What is the origin of "tough bananas"? I've seen it elsewhere online but its not explained here.

: : : I suspect this is a combination of a euphemism and what is sometimes called a snowclone (a phrasal template/pattern like "X is the new Y" (brown is the new black)) so there are tough bananas tough cookies, tough beans, tough X. It often hard to find an origin as you must discover which is the original variation of the pattern. I might guess the original is the somewhat vulgar "tough titties".

: : For many decades in the UK 'hard cheese', sometimes 'hard cheddar', have been used. These are clearly similar to 'tough xx', although I can't recall hearing 'tough cheese'. JB

: Snowclone. Interesting term. The phrase that I've heard is: "Tough t*tty," said the kitty, "but the milk sure is sweet."

I've been known "to boldly go" (a split infinitive that I still hate) farther into vulgar terrain than anyone here likes, but I have to be truthful. In the time and place of my youth the standard phrase used where one might now say "get used to it," or some such, was "tough s h i t." I was there listening as it turned into "tough bananas" for the milieux of polite company and broadcast entertainment. Only much later did I hear about "tough titties."