shingle-eating grin (additional evidence)

Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Wed Sep 28 20:45:11 UTC 2011

On Sep 28, 2011, at 4:35 PM, Laurence Horn wrote:

> On Sep 26, 2011, at 7:51 AM, Jonathan Lighter wrote:
>> "Shit-eating grin" is another term that WWII novelists place in the early
>> '40s.
>> I'd suggest that the unique "shingle-eating grin" makes absolutely no sense
>> except as a transparent euphemism.
> Isn't there more to it?  "Shit on shingles" is the standard appellation for creamed chipped beef on toast in WWII lingo (eventually trickling down to university dining hall lingo), so this might be not paradigmatic replacement (i.e. simple euphemism) but syntagmatic association:  If you find shit, can shingles be far behind (or below)? If not, then a eating shingles would typically amount to eating shit (at least metaphorically).
> LH
So if I'm right, one might expect to find hits for "shinola-eating grin", based on the standard locution for an inability to distinguish between two items, "(not) to know shit from shinola" (based on that widely distributed brand of brown shoe polish).  And sure enough, there are.  Not a huge number, but a tasty potpourri, among which are:

The goofy, shinola-eating grin on his face told me this could have definite possibilities.

with enough tongue wagging and a bushy enough mustache, one can hide even the largest shinola eating grin.

I swear from the first song I had a HUGE shinola eating grin on my face.

or, for equal opportunity insults:

Coming from Michael Moore, it earns nothing more terrible than an oafish, shinola-eating grin

With his huge shinola-eating grin, John McCain looks like he's about to make a tasty snack out of Huckabee in New Hampshire.

that photo of him standing side by side with Hillary and her shinola-eating grin.


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