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

Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Mon Aug 17 02:30:39 UTC 2015


> On Aug 16, 2015, at 3:55 PM, Jonathan Lighter <wuxxmupp2000 at GMAIL.COM> wrote:
> 
> Cf. Housman's justifiably long-popular "Terence, this is stupid stuff"
> (pub. 1896):
> 
> "Say, for what were hop-yards meant,
> Or why was Burton built on Trent?"
> 
> 

Although perhaps popular more for the quatrain that follows

Many a peer of England brews
Livelier liquor than the Muse.
And malt does more than Milton can
To justify God's ways to man.

and the envoi

I tell a tale that I heard told--
Mithridates, he died old.

I had the whole thing memorized once upon a time, but that was back when I was a (non-Shropshire) lad...

LH

> 
> On Sun, Aug 16, 2015 at 2:01 PM, ADSGarson O'Toole <
> adsgarsonotoole at gmail.com> wrote:
> 
>> ---------------------- Information from the mail header
>> -----------------------
>> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
>> Poster:       ADSGarson O'Toole <adsgarsonotoole at GMAIL.COM>
>> Subject:      Re: go for a "Burton"--a 1944 etymology guess (UNCLASSIFIED)
>> 
>> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
>> 
>> More data: Below is an explanation for the slang expression "He's gone
>> for a Burton" printed in a Winnipeg, Canada newspaper in September
>> 1944.
>> 
>> 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
>> pub.
>> 
>> 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]
>> 
>> Garson
>> 
>> ------------------------------------------------------------
>> The American Dialect Society - https://urldefense.proofpoint.com/v2/url?u=http-3A__www.americandialect.org&d=AwIBaQ&c=-dg2m7zWuuDZ0MUcV7Sdqw&r=wFp3X4Mu39hB2bf13gtz0ZpW1TsSxPIWYiZRsMFFaLQ&m=odX1c0sW5mHKqWnUQsXhzRc10qWSdwbj4z-hyN8Nw1w&s=812nHnndmzMHqhqgAhEOXpaO6ivGupbJk8pL3-M1Dk8&e= 
>> 
> 
> 
> 
> -- 
> "If the truth is half as bad as I think it is, you can't handle the truth."
> 
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> The American Dialect Society - https://urldefense.proofpoint.com/v2/url?u=http-3A__www.americandialect.org&d=AwIBaQ&c=-dg2m7zWuuDZ0MUcV7Sdqw&r=wFp3X4Mu39hB2bf13gtz0ZpW1TsSxPIWYiZRsMFFaLQ&m=odX1c0sW5mHKqWnUQsXhzRc10qWSdwbj4z-hyN8Nw1w&s=812nHnndmzMHqhqgAhEOXpaO6ivGupbJk8pL3-M1Dk8&e= 

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


More information about the Ads-l mailing list