"spend a penny" -- the TLS is at it again.

Garson O'Toole adsgarsonotoole at GMAIL.COM
Sat Oct 8 23:53:54 UTC 2011

Douglas G. Wilson wrote
> Somebody has made the assertion or speculation (I saw it on-line but I
> can't find it now) that "bum-taffy" was a deliberate malapropism
> referring to Daffy's Elixir, an old laxative (which has a Wikipedia page).

The following book in GB that provides explanations for "Winisms" also
connects "bum-taffy" to the specific item "Daffey's Elixir, a

Title: Bulletin of the New York Public Library.
Author: New York Public Library.
Publisher: New York, New York Public Library.
Volume: 68
Year: 1964
(Google Books snippet view; Data not verified may inaccurate;
HathiTrust has also has a match for "bum-taffy" in the same Volume 68
and claims the year is 1964)

<Begin extracted text>
buckled, crisped and curled long hair, Ba, Jo, K, OED.

bumbeseens. a Winism for bombasin or bombasine, a cloth made of silk
and cotton, Ba, Jo, K, OED. It may also be a Winism for a dress made
of this material,

bum-taffy, a Winism for a dose of Daffey's Elixir, a laxative,

carrying-crow, a Winism for carrion crow.

changing, "to put one thing in the place of another," K. Often used
with chopping.
<End extracted text>



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