"Q: "show me out [something]" = show to me?

Joel S. Berson Berson at ATT.NET
Fri Feb 8 19:36:31 UTC 2008

The work is _Saul, a Mystery_ (1845; NY and Hartford), by Arthur
Cleveland Coxe.  I don't know much yet about the scope of the whole
play (it is online, in Google Books).  There is a Wikipedia
"stub-class" article on Coxe, saying he was a (northeastern) American
and apparently-Anglican cleric; and he certainly wrote a lot.  In
_Saul_, I would expect some "Biblical" language -- whatever Coxe took
as his model.


At 2/8/2008 11:25 AM, Damien Hall wrote:
>I think there might be another possibility here, but some actual speaker of
>German will have to confirm or deny.  Could this be a calque on a German or
>Pennsylvania Dutch verb?  Joel, where is this play from / who's the author?
>I ask because my first reaction on seeing the title of the post was
>like Joel's,
>that 'shew me out' could be synonymous with 'point out to me' > 'point me out'
>(which I think I can get).  It looked to me like a calque on German, of the
>type sometimes said to be made by speakers of Pennsylvania Dutch etc.  And,
>sure enough, German does have several verbs meaning things like 'show' which
>begin with the particle *aus-* (postposed when there's an object, I think).
> From what I can work out from my dictionaries, *ausstellen* or
> *ausweisen* seem
>the most likely to be the source of this calque, if calque it is.  My PA Dutch
>dictionary has *veisa* (< G. *weisen*, I suppose) for 'show v.' - there's no
>translation including *aus-* - and German dictionaries also have *weisen*, no
>particle, for 'show v.'.  (In fact, the LEO online dictionary has this very
>phrase as an example sv *weisen*:  'show someone the door', *jmdm. die Tuer
>So, I fall down here because my German is really of the reading variety.  Can
>anyone who actually speaks the language be more authoritative?  As I say, all
>this could be completely improbable.
>(There's a French phrase which would have come in very useful to me
>a couple of
>times in this post:  *confirmer ou infirmer*, where *confirmer* =
>'confirm' and
>*infirmer* is the opposite.  Is there an English equivalent for
>that?  'Confirm
>or deny' isn't it, because 'deny' is used of an allegation, not of a
>supposition, I don't think, whereas *infirmer* is used specifically of a
>supposition in this phrase - though maybe for allegations in other contexts.)
>Damien Hall
>University of Pennsylvania
>The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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

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