? ? ? keep a cow

James C Stalker stalker at MSU.EDU
Sun Apr 24 00:12:05 UTC 2005

Like Ron, the "go keep a cow" sounded vaguely familiar.  "Go chase yourself"
sounded as if I had really heard it.  I did a google search on "go chase
yourself."  You should try it.  There is a Lucille Ball movie with that
name.  I found a Dutch poem in English which uses the phrase, and a UK site
that equates it to "go fly a kite," one that I think most of us would more
likely reccognize, as well a "take a long walk off a short pier," "take a
flying leap," etc..  An interesting one is "go to grass and eat hay." Maybe
that's where the cow is useful.


Roger Shuy writes:

> on 4/23/05 9:58 AM, RonButters at AOL.COM at RonButters at AOL.COM wrote:
>> ---------------------- Information from the mail header
>> -----------------------
>> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
>> Poster:       RonButters at AOL.COM
>> Subject:      =?ISO-8859-1?Q?Re:=20=A0=20=A0=20=A0=20keep=20a=20cow?=
> ----------------------------------------------------------------------------
> --> -
>> In a message dated 4/23/05 9:51:30 AM, rshuy at MONTANA.COM writes:
>>> My late father, who would be 101 now if he were still alive, used some
>>> expressions that I've not heard from others. I wonder if any one else has
>>> heard the expression of disgust said to someone else, "Oh, go keep a cow."
>>> He lived all his life in central to northern Ohio.
>>> Roger
>> This seems to me to mean the same thing as "Oh, go fly a kite," which was
>> very common in east-central Iowa in the 1950s. "Oh, go keep a cow" sounds
>> vaguely
>> familiar, but I can't say for sure that any of my grandparents used it (or
>> didn't).
> He also used to say, "Go chase yourself" and I wonder if he was alone in
> this too.
> roger

James C. Stalker
Department of English
Michigan State University

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