Phrase: the old, slam-bang, thank-you-ma'ams (automobile tires circa 1925 probably)

victor steinbok aardvark66 at GMAIL.COM
Fri Jul 8 21:52:24 UTC 2011

I can't compete with the depth of this research, but I did spot one item of
interest. It's from a 1906 play by Langdon Mitchell, "New York Idea" (GB has
a 1917 copy under Representative American Plays--Wiki incorrectly lists it
as 1907 London, but the premiere took place on November 19, 1906 in New York

> Sir Wilfrid. (Rising.) Damme, my dear lady, a marriage in your country is
> no more than a--eh--eh--what do you call 'em? A "thank you, ma'am." That's
> what an American marriage is--a "thank you, ma'am." Bump--bump--you're over
> it and on to the next.

While this context is not explicitly sexual, it certainly tracks closely to
the standard metaphor.]


PS: A follow-up on the previous discussion on speed bumps--my recent trip to
Boulder confirmed that all three kinds of signs--Dip, Bump and [Speed]
Hump--are present in that area. Dip is restricted to concrete-lined
depressions across the roadway, bump relates to road construction mostly,
and humps are what I usually refer to as "rolling speed bumps" (4-8 feet
wide), which is how they are posted in Berkeley. No "Thank you ma'am!" in
Boulder that I noticed ;-)

The American Dialect Society -

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