"school" phrases (formerly "kippie")

Dennis R. Preston preston at MSU.EDU
Sat Jan 13 14:57:06 UTC 2007

Any impending triumph was preceded by "School's out" mongst us
nonteacher families and types as well, certainly not limited to
cards. I even used it as an in-your-face exclamation when I went up
for a sure jump shot, directed at my defender.

Ah! 50's trash-talkin'.


>---------------------- Information from the mail header
>Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
>Poster:       Charles Doyle <cdoyle at UGA.EDU>
>Subject:      "school" phrases (formerly "kippie")
>Are others familiar with a ritual exclamation of an individual upon
>his triumphing in a card game like rummy: "School's out"?  My
>parents followed that custom in the 1950s; however, they were
>teachers, so maybe they invented the practice.
>---- Original message ----
>>Date: Fri, 12 Jan 2007 23:14:05 -0500
>>From: "Douglas G. Wilson" <douglas at NB.NET>
>>Subject: Re: "kippie" - Buster Keaton
>>>>"It got so that I didn't care if school kept or not."
>>>This is an old expression (from 1855 at a glance at N'archive):
>>>"not care whether school keeps or not" means "not care about
>>>anything at all".
>>Here's a little earlier, 1848, from N'archive (which doesn't always
>>return the same items for the same inquiry):
>>_Independent American and General Advertiser_, Platteville WI, 16 Dec.
>>1848: p. "9":
>><<"I don't care a darn whether school keeps or not," said a vulger
>>[sic] school boy. Whereupon his more refined companion rebuked him,
>>and rendered the sentence thus: "It behooveth me not the value of
>>an anathema, whether the pedagogue presideth at the temple of
>>erudition or not!">>
>>... suggesting (to me anyway) that the phrase in question was
>>already standard at that time.
>>-- Doug Wilson
>The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

Dennis R. Preston
University Distinguished Professor
Department of English
15C Morrill Hall
Michigan State University
East Lansing, MI 48824
preston at msu.edu

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

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