"I could carve a better man out of a banana"

Jonathan Lighter wuxxmupp2000 at GMAIL.COM
Tue Oct 1 14:08:28 UTC 2013

Quoted by a CNN analyst today as "the old phrase."

1968 Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. _Slaughterhouse-Five_  (N.Y.:  Dell, 1970) 184: His
most popular book was about sex and strenuous athletics for men over
Now he quoted Theodore Roosevelt, whom he resembled a lot: "'I could carve
a better man out of a banana.'"

Vonnegut's novel undoubtedly popularized the phrase. YBQ cites it from 1932
in Silas Bent's biography of Oliver Wendell Holmes (Roosevelt's alleged
banana man) in less succinct form and in indirect speech. It appears on p.
251 of Bent's book.


"If the truth is half as bad as I think it is, you can't handle the truth."

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

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