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#52479 - 01/11/02 04:57 AM What Katie did
consuelo Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 06/11/01
Posts: 2636
Loc: Caribbean
Where did the expression "Katie bar the door." come from?

#52480 - 01/11/02 05:13 AM Re: What Katie did
Wordwind Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 09/30/01
Posts: 6296
Loc: Piedmont Region of Virginia, U...
Well, Consuelo, here's a bit I googled:

"Up to par, Katie bars the kitchen signs but not me in"
There's an old saying "Katie bar the door". It's used a lot in the south meaning, "something unstoppable [is coming]". [gerbil] * 'Katie bar the kitchen door' is a southern term that meant you better watch out. [Stipe, on AOL] * It's been suggested that this song might be related to Stipe's sister's experience teaching deaf children. (Consider also "I'm the sign and you're not deaf.") Therefore, the "sign" in question might be American Sign Language. [Chris Piuma] * "Up to par" means "good enough". [Chris Piuma


And that's just theory, so mebbe you'll get some more theories on this today.

Best regards,

#52481 - 01/11/02 10:03 AM Re: What Katie did
wwh Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 01/18/01
Posts: 13858
From Word-Detective:
I can tell you that "Katie bar the door" is a colloquial expression meaning "look out" or
"get ready for trouble," and that it is heard primarily in the Southern United States. Beyond that, things get very murky. I even
searched the Internet for an answer, but all I discovered about "Katie bar the door" on the Net is that the phrase may or may
not -- opinions vary -- occur in the lyrics to an old REM song.

Eventually, like Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz, I realized that the best
answer I was likely to find was in my own back yard all along. My parents,
in their Morris Dictionary of Word and Phrase Origins, report similar
difficulty in tracing "Katie bar the door." In their case however, a helpful
reader came to the rescue and noted that the phrase most probably came
from an old English folk song. In the song, Katie and her husband are
arguing, and somehow agree that the next one to speak will lose the
argument. Since neither will speak to suggest barring the door at bedtime,
robbers break in during the night and commit various outrages against the
pair. The end of the song apparently involves the husband crying out at last
and repelling the miscreants, thereby losing the argument with his wife.
Since I don't have the actual lyrics to the song, I can only presume that the
phrase "Katie bar the door" occurs as a refrain or concluding stanza, but
the accepted meaning of the phrase certainly fits the story conveyed in the song.

#52482 - 01/11/02 11:30 AM Re: What Katie did
Keiva Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 08/04/01
Posts: 2605
dr. bill, sounds like an old ballad I vaguely remember, where the punch line is ...
No, let's not spoil it. The ballad can be found at http://www.bartleby.com/243/172.html
The wife's name is never specified.

#52483 - 01/13/02 12:45 AM Re: What Katie did
francais31415 Offline

Registered: 01/15/01
Posts: 157
I remember studying that ballad in a British Literature class. I think it was medeival (sp?) - I know that unit came before the one on Shakespeare, anyway. There were a lot of beautiful poems in that unit.


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