"Make like a tree and leave" (1954)

Page Stephens hpst at EARTHLINK.NET
Fri Feb 27 16:57:24 UTC 2004

I first remember hearing "Make like like a tree and leave." back in the
1950s. I heard it from my friend Richard Loomis. I always associated it with
jazz slang since his father and uncle had both played in big bands, and Dick
used to use a lot of jazz slang.

I still suspect that it comes from this venue if for no other reason than it
sounds like it although I have no evidence for this.

Page Stephens

----- Original Message -----
From: "Laurence Horn" <laurence.horn at YALE.EDU>
Sent: Wednesday, February 25, 2004 11:31 PM
Subject: Re: "Make like a tree and leave" (1954)

> ---------------------- Information from the mail
header -----------------------
> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       Laurence Horn <laurence.horn at YALE.EDU>
> Subject:      Re: "Make like a tree and leave" (1954)
> --------------------------------------------------------------------------
> At 7:38 PM -0500 2/24/04, Bapopik at AOL.COM wrote:
> >    It was at the end of the day today (another day wasted like so many
> >others) and I didn't know if anyone was still waiting for a hearing on
> >tickets.
> >    "Make like a tree," the guard told me.
> >    "Make like a tree?"
> >    "Make like a tree and get outta here.  Make like a tree and leave!"
> "Make like a tree and get outta here."  Reminds me of a moment in
> Back to the Future (either I or II), in which a dumb tough guy who
> gets everything wrong orders someone (Marty McFly [Michael J. Fox] or
> his father, no doubt--this is when Marty is back in 1955) to "Make
> like a tree and take off" and is then corrected--"It's 'Make like a
> tree and leave', you moron".  Nice to know that it wasn't an
> anachronism, given the above date.
> Larry

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