"like a herd of turtles"

Wilson Gray hwgray at GMAIL.COM
Tue Jun 10 03:27:12 UTC 2014

On Mon, Jun 9, 2014 at 8:56 PM, Jonathan Lighter <wuxxmupp2000 at gmail.com>

> Wilson, see HDAS sv "big-assed," adj.
> Or don't bother. "Take off like a big-assed bird" was in print by 1945.
> Otherwise:
> 1947 _Nashua Telegraph_ (June 27) 10 (NewspArch): Watch 'em take off like
> a
> big bird,

I did see. That's why I didn't bother to note my intuition that "take off
like a big-assed bird" probably didn't originate among ground troops. I
didn't think that the phrase was new in any interesting sense. It's only
that, like "herd of turtles," it's something that I would be unfamiliar
with, if not for my stint in the military.

By 1945, did people still know that there was an actual "big-assed bird,"
the B-17, that could literally "take off"?
All say, "How hard it is that we have to die!"---a strange complaint to
come from the mouths of people who have had to live.
-Mark Twain

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

More information about the Ads-l mailing list