"... Hit with _the ugly stick_."

Dennis R. Preston preston at MSU.EDU
Tue Nov 13 14:30:36 UTC 2007

Widespread Wilson, widespread; geographically and ethnically. Old
white guy from Louisville (me); used it in the 50s. Only later did I
hear it incorporated into dozens routines ("Your momma so ugly she
look like she got hit with..."). But this was so recent that it might
have arisen in the small but significant "white dozens" that emerged
in the late 60's-early 70s. (e.g., "Your momma wear open-toed tennis
shoes.") Course, some of these could have been borrowed back.


>---------------------- Information from the mail header
>Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
>Poster:       Wilson Gray <hwgray at GMAIL.COM>
>Subject:      "... Hit with _the ugly stick_."
>According to the (apparently) white voice-over guy on random TV
>channels, "South Park gets _hit with the ugly stick_"
>I haven't heard the expression, "get hit with the ugly stick," since I
>was about fourteen, ca.1951, e.g., "((S)he look so bad that (s)he
>musta been hit wit' tha ugly stick." Till now, I not only have been
>under the impression that only BE-speakers used this expression, but
>also that it was peculiar to Saint Louis. You never know.
>All say, "How hard it is that we have to die"---a strange complaint to
>come from the mouths of people who have had to live.
>                                               -Sam'l Clemens
>The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

It should be the chief aim of a university professor to exhibit
himself [sic] in his own true character - that is, as an ignorant man
thinking, actively utilizing his small share of knowledge. Alfred
North Whitehead

Dennis R. Preston
University Distinguished Professor
Department of English
Morrill Hall 15-C
Michigan State University
East Lansing, MI 48824-1036 USA
Office: (517) 353-4736
Fax: (517) 353-3755

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

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