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#125532 - 03/20/04 09:51 AM Indian sign
wwh Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 01/18/01
Posts: 13858
There are a number of feral cats in the neighborhood who
have been fed regularly enough to have become almost pets.
As I put out for them the rotisserie chicken skin I must
abstain from, and noticed that Nicky came to it first, an ancient country phrase came to my mind:
"Nicky's got the Indian sign on Nat".
I haven't heard it for years, and don't know how it
originated. It means that Nicky is dominant over Nat, without any advantage in age or size. Anybody else familiar
with this phrase?


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#125533 - 07/09/04 06:32 PM Re: Indian sign
Zed Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 08/27/02
Posts: 2154
Loc: British Columbia, Canada
It's a new one on me. What part of the country would that be from again? It sounds rural east coast for some reason.


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#177852 - 06/28/08 02:29 PM Re: Indian sign [Re: wwh]
Sandman Offline
stranger

Registered: 06/28/08
Posts: 7
Loc: Honey Island, Texas
Webster's calls "Indian Sign" a synonym for "hex" or "spell."
I've used the phrase since I was a tiny child, for 70 years and more. My parents and their parents were rural dwellers in South Central Texas. Hardly East Coast, though it could have migrated from North Carolina and Tennessee. I was hoping to get some history or etymology.

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#177853 - 06/28/08 02:53 PM Re: Indian sign [Re: Sandman]
twosleepy Offline
old hand

Registered: 02/28/08
Posts: 876
Loc: western NY
A quick googling of the phrase brought up this page The Indian Blanket Act For those who don't wish to read the entire article (it's not long, though) here is the gist (any emphasis added):

All West­erners are familiar with the expression, "You've got the Indian sign on him." It implies a psychological control. The Indian blanket of the old days, woven to depict historical events, to represent the mythology of the Indian people or to otherwise portray definite meaning, could well have been and was in slang called an Indian sign. The expression grew out from pioneer recognition of the unusual control an Indian performer could seemingly exercise with his blanket in the Indian blanket act. The expression, like many others of distinctive meaning, crept into the language of the West and remained; whereas, the physical fac­tors of the blanket act, not being understood, have lived almost entirely in the early stories of a com­parative few who have seen something of the show­manship of the native culture of the Old West.

The article, title notwithstanding, is not about an act passed by the US government affecting native americans, but about a performance act in which a blanket is used to tame a horse who is visibly untamed in the beginning. Interestingly, the blanket itself has nothing to do with the taming, much as the snake charmers playing of an instrument is equally unrelated to the charming.

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#177919 - 07/03/08 02:22 PM Re: Indian sign [Re: twosleepy]
LukeJavan8 Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 06/23/08
Posts: 6487
Loc: Land of the Flat Water
I agree with twosleepy, above, in what is said about the blanket and the hex. My grandmother was of Indian descent and used the term. The blanket could be made of feathers too, however, depending on the nation involved. The power did not reside in the blanket, but in the control exercised by the shaman or other person performing the act.
_________________________
----please, draw me a sheep----

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#177920 - 07/03/08 02:24 PM Re: Indian sign [Re: LukeJavan8]
LukeJavan8 Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 06/23/08
Posts: 6487
Loc: Land of the Flat Water
I have only been with this site a couple weeks, belonging to others that discuss words far longer. I do find this site confusing however, especially in finding the word of the day and ease with which to "surf" the site. Any help would be appreciated.
Thanks.
_________________________
----please, draw me a sheep----

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#177924 - 07/03/08 05:40 PM Re: Indian sign [Re: LukeJavan8]
tsuwm Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 04/03/00
Posts: 10522
Loc: this too shall pass
 Originally Posted By: LukeJavan8
I have only been with this site a couple weeks, belonging to others that discuss words far longer. I do find this site confusing however, especially in finding the word of the day and ease with which to "surf" the site. Any help would be appreciated.
Thanks.


early on (at the inception of these forums), the AWAD theme of the week was posted as an individual forum by Wordsmith, for discussion of individual words or the theme in general. As indicated by the the header, this is no longer the case, as "Weekly themes have been consolidated into a single forum above" (and Wordsmith very seldom posts, and then only in Information and announcements). Folks do seem to find this confusing, as the daily word tends to get comments posted all over the place; but the "Weekly Themes" forum is meant to be the place to discuss the daily word.

Other than that, if you have a topic you'd like to start, just pick an appropriate sounding forum to post it in; they're all pretty much self-explanatory, as in the forum list.

-ron o.

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#177926 - 07/03/08 06:58 PM Re: Indian sign [Re: wwh]
latishya Offline
enthusiast

Registered: 11/24/07
Posts: 390
Loc: कहीं &...

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#177929 - 07/03/08 10:56 PM Re: Indian sign [Re: twosleepy]
olly Offline
old hand

Registered: 12/18/06
Posts: 956
Loc: Auckland, New Zealand

"Nicky's got the Indian sign on Nat".

I agree with Twosleepy and Javan8.
In wwh's context it would mean "Nicky is more dominant over Nat".



Is that the Aum sign Latishya?

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#180766 - 12/09/08 12:58 PM Re: Indian sign [Re: olly]
LukeJavan8 Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 06/23/08
Posts: 6487
Loc: Land of the Flat Water
Thanks latishya for the Indian Sign for what? OM? Peace? I've seen it before often, but never thought to inquire.
_________________________
----please, draw me a sheep----

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