[Ads-l] Antedating "Get my goat"

Peter Reitan pjreitan at HOTMAIL.COM
Wed Oct 25 10:39:58 EDT 2017


Last year, a reader of my blog who had listened to Ben Zimmer's podcast identified an early use of "get my goat" dated November 28, 1900.  Discussed here:  http://listserv.linguistlist.org/pipermail/ads-l/2016-June/142769.html


I just ran across a an example dated November 16, 1900, discussing the fact that it was then current in New York City.  The reference also discusses two earlier idioms the new expression displaced.


"He Has His Goat." The Latest New York Phrase Applied to Certain Friendly Conditions.  Sundry phrases at various times have been used to describe the influence which, in a friendly and unobjectionable way, one may is able to exercise over the doings of another. For many years the local New York expression in such a case was "He has the loan of him." . . .  [T]he popularity of "the loan of" was not so great as to prevent its being superseced by another phrase of like import, in very general use until recently.  This phrase was "Put me next." . . .  The latest phrase used to convey this meaning is "He's got his goat."  The meaning of the phrase is that the subject of the comment exercises large influence with another - he has the loan of him; he's next.


Buffalo Evening News, November 16, 1900, page 9. Newspapers.com


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