? ? ? keep a cow

Dennis R. Preston preston at MSU.EDU
Mon Apr 25 12:44:01 UTC 2005

It was "Go fuck a dog" or "Fuck a dog" (or, more elaborately, "(Go)
fuck a big brown dog") in S. Indiana-Louisville in the late 40s early


>Is "Go fuck a cow !" known to exist ?
>James C Stalker <stalker at MSU.EDU> wrote:
>---------------------- Information from the mail header
>Sender: American Dialect Society
>Poster: James C Stalker
>Subject: Re: ? ? ? keep a cow
>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
>>>  -----------------------
>>>  Sender: American Dialect Society
>>>  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
>Do You Yahoo!?
>Tired of spam?  Yahoo! Mail has the best spam protection around

Dennis R. Preston
University Distinguished Professor
Department of Linguistics and Germanic, Slavic,
        Asian and African Languages
Wells Hall A-740
Michigan State University
East Lansing, MI 48824-1027 USA
Office: (517) 353-0740
Fax: (517) 432-2736

More information about the Ads-l mailing list