[Ads-l] Take a knee

ADSGarson O'Toole adsgarsonotoole at GMAIL.COM
Tue Dec 26 13:52:42 EST 2017

Interesting, Bill. Here is an instance in 1909 of "take a knee rest"
used as a command to fellow hunters who are about to shoot a deer.
This probably refers to the one-knee-on-the-ground crouched position
of a person aiming a rifle.

Date: March 1909
Periodical: Hunter-Trader-Trapper
Volume XVII, Number 6
Article: Interesting California Letter
Stat Page 74, Quote Page 75
Publisher Location: Columbus, Ohio


[Begin excerpt]
Then when we were coming towards home I said, "boys let's cross this
big gulch, I think I can find another over there."

So away we went, and just as we came up on top of the ridge I said,
"hold on John, see that fellow." "Now," I said, "let's all take a knee
rest and count three." Everyone held on his neck, as he hadn't seen us
and was lying down. Well, when I said three they were surely on time
and his head dropped. John said, "I bet my old mare I hit that
fellow," and Arthur wanted to bet his house and lot in Oregon that he
had done the deer.
[End excerpt]

In 1916 "Popular Mechanics" printed an illustration of the "knee rest
position" on page 629 (the page before the text excerpt below). This
excerpt does not use the verb "to take".

Date: October 1916
Periodical: Popular Mechanics Magazine
Volume 26, Number 4
Article: the Sporting Rifle and How to Use It
Author: Stillman Taylor
Start Page 627, Illustration Page 629, Quote Page 630
Publisher: Popular Mechanics Company, Chicago, Illinois


[Begin excerpt]
The knee rest position is often useful for the sportsman in stalking
game, when it is desirable to expose oneself as little as possible. A
steadier aim may be secured, especially if a strong wind is blowing.
[End excerpt]


On Tue, Dec 26, 2017 at 1:04 PM, MULLINS, WILLIAM D (Bill) CIV USARMY
RDECOM AMRDEC (US) <william.d.mullins18.civ at mail.mil> wrote:
> Possibly related . . .
> _Omaha [NE] World-Herald_ 3/6/1910 p W-9 col 5
> "I remember well the time when, having already killed two deer, and beginning to fancy myself a great hunter, and having practiced rifle shooting until I was reasonably sure of hitting a prairie chicken off-hand at 50 yards, and the first tracking snow of the season having come, I took the trail of a doe and two fawns on the west bank of the Nishnabotna river, just above Big Grove, and making a successful crawl upon the watchful creatures until I was within seventy-five  yards of the unsuspecting doe grazing peacefully broadside to, I took a knee rest (that is, with one knee on the ground), and missed the big target completely."
>> ----
>> All of this is discussed in the Language Log post I linked to upthread.
>> http://languagelog.ldc.upenn.edu/nll/?p=34671
>> Beginning in the '90s, "taking a knee" or "taking the knee" often referred to the "quarterback kneel," where the quarterback on the winning
>> team runs out the clock by kneeling after the snap — either to protect a small lead or as a show of sportsmanship with a larger lead.
>> [linking to: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quarterback_kneel ]
>> On Sun, Dec 24, 2017 at 8:18 AM, Dennis During <dcduring at gmail.com> wrote:
>> > On Sun, Dec 24, 2017 at 12:50 AM, Wilson Gray <hwgray at gmail.com> wrote:
>> >
>> > > ---------------------- Information from the mail header
>> > > -----------------------
>> > > Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
>> > > Poster:       Wilson Gray <hwgray at GMAIL.COM>
>> > > Subject:      Re: Take a knee
>> > > ------------------------------------------------------------
>> > > -------------------
>> > >
>> > > Wasn't there once a time when there was only a trivial amount of
>> > > time
>> > left
>> > > and the winning team had the ball and, though, officially, there was
>> > > time left for one more play, running that play would be pointless?
>> > > So, the winning team would go into the spread formation, the ball
>> > > would be
>> > snapped
>> > > and the quarterback, instead of trying needlessly to run a useless
>> > > play, would simply "take a knee" - i.e. drop to one knee - thereby
>> > > ending the play and, consequently, the game.
>> > >
>> > > There indeed once was and still is such a time. The practice and
>> > > the use
>> > of the expression "take a knee" by sportscasters probably can be
>> > observed and heard today on football broadcasts.
>> >
>> >
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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