? ? ? keep a cow

James C Stalker stalker at MSU.EDU
Sun Apr 24 00:16:48 UTC 2005

Further thought.  Perhaps the base form is "go fuck yourself."  By
extension, "go fuck a cow," which I'm sure your dad would never have said or
even have thought of, so the "go + (do) + absurd action" is a euphemistic
substitute.  Opens up lots of creative options.  Maybe?


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
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>> 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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