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#54842 - 02/01/02 03:05 PM Why a teakettle?
wofahulicodoc Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 08/06/01
Posts: 4986
Loc: Worcester, MA
Been rather icy up here in New England of late, but they take pretty good care of the roads (though not as well as in Buffalo, I'm sure) and one of my co-workers commented that her driveway had been the slipperiest part of her drive in. Said she almost went "ass over teakettle" on the way to the car...now that's by no means the first time I've heard the phrase, and I started wondering out loud about where the phrase came might have from, and she said, "from my grandmother."

Couldn't come up with a suitable comeback for that one on the spur of the moment.

A comeback isn't really needed, and Ass Over needs no explanation, but why teakettle?


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#54843 - 02/01/02 04:11 PM Re: Why a teakettle?
wwh Offline
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Registered: 01/18/01
Posts: 13858
I'br heard and used the expression, but never thought about it. My guess is that it is a non-sequitur that can't even claim to be a euphemism. There are many of those. Please don't ask me for a list.


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#54844 - 02/01/02 04:16 PM Re: Why a teakettle?
Capital Kiwi Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 11/13/00
Posts: 3146
Loc: Northamptonshire, England
I've also heard "ass over turkey". Why a turkey for pete's sake? Beats the hell outta me!

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#54845 - 02/01/02 05:28 PM Re: Why a teakettle?
rkay Offline
member

Registered: 12/13/00
Posts: 144
Loc: London, UK
the only one I've ever come across is the much more obvious 'arse over tit' - not nearly as interesting as teakettles or turkeys. And the father of a friend of mine always said that he went 'tip over apex'.

But what about 'went for a burton'? Where did that one come from? And 'came a cropper'?


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#54846 - 02/01/02 05:56 PM Re: gone for a Burton
wwh Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 01/18/01
Posts: 13858
What I do know is that Montague Burton is the largest chain of tailors in the UK. At
the end of WW II and beyond, people leaving the armed services were given a
week's pay and a voucher to take to Burtons for a new suit. Gradually the term
"Going For a Burton" became synonymous with leaving, departing, and then
evolved into dying as a result of an air crash or any other type of accent. It became
very common with the National Servicemen (Draftees) of the 50's and 60's. It
seems to have stayed with those generations.(ed: added verbatim - well done!) UK


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#54847 - 02/01/02 06:05 PM Re: gone for a Burton
rkay Offline
member

Registered: 12/13/00
Posts: 144
Loc: London, UK
goodness - suitably impressed - I had no idea that was where the phrase came from! Unfortunately it sounds as though Burton's went seriously down hill after that, as they became a low end of the market menswear chain, and I've got a feeling they've now disappeared completely - I can't remember seeing one for ages.


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#54848 - 02/01/02 06:14 PM Re: come a cropper
wwh Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 01/18/01
Posts: 13858
From Quinion World Wide Words

We use come a cropper now to mean that a person has been struck by
some serious misfortune, but it derives from hunting, where it originally
meant a heavy fall from a horse. Its first appearance was in 1858, in a late
and undistinguished work called Ask Mamma, by that well-known Victorian
writer on hunting, R S Surtees, who's perhaps best known for Jorrock's
Jaunts and Jollities.



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#54849 - 02/01/02 06:22 PM Re: come a cropper
rkay Offline
member

Registered: 12/13/00
Posts: 144
Loc: London, UK
even more impressed - where do you find all this stuff?


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#54850 - 02/01/02 06:30 PM Re: gone for a Burton
Capital Kiwi Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 11/13/00
Posts: 3146
Loc: Northamptonshire, England
Unfortunately it sounds as though Burton's went seriously down hill after that, as they became a low end of the market menswear chain, and I've got a feeling they've now disappeared completely - I can't remember seeing one for ages.

Actually, they're still around. There's one in Northampton. So you're right about one thing: they're at the lower end of the market!

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The idiot also known as Capfka ...

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#54851 - 02/01/02 06:35 PM Keeping my ass behind meŽ
consuelo Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 06/11/01
Posts: 2636
Loc: Caribbean
Those of you who have read this story before may skip.
While living in Mexico City, I would always jump off the bus when the door opened, usually before the bus came to a complete stop. Sort of a warm-up for the big city streets. One day, while wool-gathering, the door opened, I jumped out, and went from zero to about 12 mph immediately. It was all I could do to keep putting the one foot in front of the other. Luckily, no parked cars, cats or babies were in my way. I now refer to this as "keeping my ass behind meŽ" and use it as a metaphor when speaking of dealing with difficult situations or as a flippant answer to the boring question "How are you?" That one coulda killed me!


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