[Ads-l] go for a "Burton"--a 1944 etymology guess (UNCLASSIFIED)

ADSGarson O'Toole adsgarsonotoole at GMAIL.COM
Sun Aug 16 18:01:02 UTC 2015

More data: Below is an explanation for the slang expression "He's gone
for a Burton" printed in a Winnipeg, Canada newspaper in September

Date: September 16, 1944
Newspaper: The Winnipeg Tribune
Newspaper Location: Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
Article: Toast and Tea
(Advertisement for Jas. Barclay & Company, Walkerville, Ontario)
Author: J. V. McAree
Quote Page 3, Column 1

[Begin excerpt]
One explanation of its origin is that it first gained currency among
English soldiers who were not satisfied with the beer that was
provided in their canteens. Those who really wanted a strong glass of
beer insisted on having Burton's and when it was not available at camp
they would walk a considerable distance, if necessary, to the nearest

They would return in various stages of exhilaration, some
incapacitated, some helpless. So it came to mean that a man who had
gone for a Burton was in no immediate shape to perform his duties; he
might be, as we say,dead to the world, and eventually the phrase came
to mean death.
[End excerpt]


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

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