pea-warmer / pee-warmer

James A. Landau JJJRLandau at AOL.COM
Sun Apr 3 17:20:00 UTC 2005

In a message dated:Sat, 2 Apr 2005 22:38:19 -0500, "Douglas G. Wilson"
_douglas at NB.NET_ (mailto:douglas at NB.NET)  writes:

I  don't see an obviously likely etymology for "piss-warmer" or  for
"pea-warmer", but "piss-cutter" is even more inexplicable, I  think.
Conceivably the "piss-" words might be based on some perhaps  forgotten
folk-physiology, along the lines of  "piss-proud".

Folk-physiology, hmm.  As in the old expression, "full of piss and  vinegar"?
 Or "my heart pumps warm piss" (meaning "I am not  impressed").

Here's a guess:  in "the" Dakotas there may have arisen the term
"piss-warmer" for a fire that was not adequate to keep one warm, and the owner  of the
mine, disappointed at its original production, named it that.   Later, when the
mine became more productive, the meaning changed to  "humdinger".  Or it may
have had something to do with the way urine, which  is at body heat, melts its
way through snow.

The reason this phrase, bowdlerized or not, died out is that it was a
strictly regional coinage and never entered the general run of American  English.

   - Jim Landau

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