Heard in Missouri: "but good!"

David Donnell David.Donnell at EARTHLINK.NET
Wed Dec 19 23:49:07 UTC 2007

Yes, there is some negative sense to the term "but good".

Reminds me of a possibly-related phrase I heard--but this time by a
17-19 yr old food server who works at the St Louis retirement
community where my dear old ma lives.

Both my mother and I were sitting in the dining room where we could
see the food servers coming in and out of the kitchen. The young
woman waiting on our table walked into the kitchen at one point, and
we could see her slip and fall on the greasy tiled floor in the
kitchen--it looked like quite hard fall! When the gal returned to the
table with our food a moment or so later, I mentioned the spill &
asked if she was OK... She laughed and replied, "Yeah I fell down
sumpin' GOOD!"

Now I'm wondering how similar "sumpin' good!" is to "but good!"...

At 1:22 PM -0500 12/19/07, Laurence Horn wrote:
>At 10:10 AM -0800 12/19/07, Arnold M. Zwicky wrote:
>>let me try this again; it slipped out of my grasp the first time...
>>On Dec 19, 2007, at 9:18 AM, David Donnell wrote:
>>>Question about an expression I just heard: "but good!"
>>>... The expression never registered with me before, although it
>>>familiar rolling off her tongue; it apparently means something like
>>>"and how!"
>>note that it really won't do to define one opaque idioms by another.
>>>Is anyone familiar with this critter?
>>it's in the AHD Dictionary of Idioms (1997):
>>   Emphatically, thoroughly, as in Ruth decided to clean up the whole
>>yard but good. The word but in this colloquialism functions as an
>>intensive. Also see _and how_. x
>>so far as i know, it's general american.  colloquial, but widespread.
>I'm used to hearing it especially in contexts of warning or threats,
>or the fulfillment of an action with negative consequences for the
>"I'm gonna fix your wagon--but good!"
>(only idiomatic reading, no actual wagon-repair being offered here)
>"He got me (back), but good!"
>(could refer to physical violence, or being made the butt of a
>practical joke, a revenge set-up, etc.)
>The clean-the-yard scenario would strike me as odd;
>"Ruth decided to mess up the whole yard, but good!"
>would be more natural.
>The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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