Heard in Missouri: "but good!"

Jonathan Lighter wuxxmupp2000 at YAHOO.COM
Thu Dec 20 02:08:23 UTC 2007

OED has David Crockett killing a bear "good" in 1834 (_good_, ...adv. B.).


"Arnold M. Zwicky" <zwicky at CSLI.STANFORD.EDU> wrote:
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Sender: American Dialect Society
Poster: "Arnold M. Zwicky"
Subject: Re: Heard in Missouri: "but good!"

On Dec 19, 2007, at 3:33 PM, David Donnell wrote:

> Pardon my asking: by "opaque idiom" what do you mean?

all idoms are to some extend semantically opaque. these ("but good",
"and how") are especially so: knowing the meanings of the words
wouldn't help you at all in figuring out their meaning/use.

> I reckon you mean there is no literal sense to either idiom... (If
> so, I agree with you. Otherwise, please correct me.)


> Also, below you say it's "general american. colloquial, but
> widespread."
> Don't you find the expression a wee bit anachronistic? I mean, can
> you imagine any young adult using it nowdays? Just curious.

you might be right; this is something someone could look at. but
there seems to be (or have been) nothing particularly regional about it.

> Note: I don't have enough info to circumscribe usage of the
> expression--didn't mean to suggest it is regional. I simply reported
> the identity & location of the person using the expression. (My dear
> old ma.)

i realize that this cuts both ways. if you don't give the details, we
don't know how to situate the report. but whatever details you give,
we'll take to be possibly relevant to the report.

i picked up on the possibly regional part, because others did. my


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