Douglas G. Wilson
douglas at NB.NET
Tue Jun 11 15:41:54 UTC 2002
> > It's from Virginia-North Carolina, an older generation, (maybe a
> > hundred years back) and probably from the Appalachians. Three
> > different older friends remember their grandmothers' using it. It
> > means "I'm full", "I've had plenty to eat". Phonetically: "My
> > sufficiency is serrancified". Could be "cerr", or one "r", or
> > perhaps never printed! All four of us are curious about its
> > origins.
My brief Internet search gives the following alternatives in this context:
I cannot find any etymology. My unsupported speculation is that "My
sufficiency is ..." is originally a jocular
"hoity-toity"/"mock-aristocratic" overcorrection for "crude" or
"unladylike" expressions such as "I'm stuffed". The singer Gordon Lightfoot
(from Ontario) is quoted as saying one of these "sufficiency" things on stage.
I've heard myself the short form "I've had a sufficiency", also "I've had
an elegant sufficiency", which I think is parallel to the above.
On the Web:
"Have you had an elegant sufficiency?"
"Any more would be a reluctant redundancy!"
My mother was also Welsh and usually said "I've had an elegant
sufficiency," and my father, a Scot, who fancied himself a wag, would
inevitably reply, "And I have an elephant's capacity."
[description of Irish parents] They both enjoy a drink, though my mother
will curb any enthusiasm for same with expressions like 'You have had an
elegant sufficiency' or 'Tá sé thar am.'
[a Japanese exchange student in Australia] For example, it's politer to say
"I've had an elegant sufficiency" than "I've had enough." My host mother
taught me this beautiful phrase. [Hmmm]
-- Doug Wilson
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