[Ads-l] slap-fight

Charles C Doyle cdoyle at UGA.EDU
Thu Dec 17 15:34:14 UTC 2015

A juvenile analog (it has no name that I am aware of) entails the swapping of blows to the upper or lower arm, administered by a two-fingered (or sometimes three-fingered) slap.

There's also a juvenile prank:  The announced challenge is to see which of two boys can deliver a softer fist-blow to the upper arm of the other.  The challenger invites his opponent to strike first.  So the opponent administers a feather-light blow.  Then the challenger strikes hard, exclaiming, "You win!"


From: American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU> on behalf of James A. Landau <JJJRLandau at NETSCAPE.COM>
Sent: Thursday, December 17, 2015 9:16 AM
Subject: Re: slap-fightt

On Wed, 16 Dec 2015 01:02:53 Zone-0500 Wilson Gray <hwgray at GMAIL.COM>
punched forth with:

<begin quote>
On a random reality-TV show there was featured a "slap-fight" between two
white guys. They took turns slapping the living shit out of each other,
until one of them couldn't take any more.

Back in The Lou amongst the colored, a "slap-fight" was the same as a
"fight fair-fists," except with open hands instead of fists. It was
regarded as mere fucking around and not as a test of the participants'
<end quote>

This reminds me of the "Irish stand-down" described in Roger Zelazny's science-fiction (or maybe fantasy) novel _Lord of Light_, (chapter vi, page 200 of the Doubleday Book Club hardback edition) in which two persons alternated cold-cocking each other until one was knocked out.

I never heard of an "Irish stand-down" before, but a quick Google search turned up 18.7M hits, many spurious.  From Wikipedia
article on "bare-knuckle boxing":

<begin quote>
"Irish stand down" is a term for a type of traditional bare knuckle fighting where the aspect of maneuvering around the ring is removed, leaving only the less nuanced aspects of punching and "taking" punches. This form of combat was popular in Irish American ghettos in the United States in the late 19th century but was eclipsed in the Irish American community first by bare knuckle boxing and then later by regulation boxing. The Irish stand down is also known as strap fighting or toe to toe.
<end quote>

which does not have the idea of taking turns.  So Zelazny and Wikipedia contradict each other about Irish stand-downs.

"The Lou" means "Louisiana", correct?  That must baffle visiting Englishmen who have a different meaning for "loo".  Perhaps a new state motto for Louisiana, "Gardez-Lou!"

- Jim Landau

Netscape.  Just the Net You Need.

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

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

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