a case (You're gonna have yourself a case)

Douglas G. Wilson douglas at NB.NET
Sun Mar 16 02:12:29 UTC 2008

> An unusual use of 'case' that I've wondered about:
>    Now you can look as much,
>    But if you much as touch,
>    You're gonna have yourself a case:
>    I'm gonna break your face.
>    ("(Don't Mess With) My Toot-Toot", Rockin' Sidney, 1984)
> The verse is interesting otherwise for its telegraphic wording: "You can
> look as much [as you want], but if you [so] much as touch [my
> toot-toot]". I
> gather that 'case' means "a whole mess of trouble", but don't know where
> that meaning comes from. The song is a zydeco piece, so maybe this is
> some
> kind of Louisiana regionalism.
Just a casual notion, from one who is thoroughly ignorant of zydeco
conventions: "case" here strikes me as probably invoking a quasi-medical
sense: "a case" implying "a case of [some unspecified disorder]", maybe
"a case of severe blunt trauma to the face", as somebody might say in an
imaginary ER.

-- Doug Wilson

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

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