[Ads-l] "the whole Mary Ann" (1950) and a theory

Dan Goncharoff thegonch at GMAIL.COM
Mon Mar 26 16:42:08 EDT 2018


First thing that popped into my head:

The whole thing =
Jesus, Mary and Joseph

But you can't say Jesus, so it's
Mary and Joseph

Which in common usage becomes
Mary and
Or
Mary Anne

On Mon, Mar 26, 2018, 4:23 PM Bonnie Taylor-Blake <b.taylorblake at gmail.com>
wrote:

> In 1995, listmember Dan Goodman forwarded Jan Gorden's query from the
> Stumpers-List:
>
> "Dear Fellow Wombats -- We have a patron who is looking for the etymology
> of the phrase 'the whole Mary Ann (or Marianne)'. Several of us here in
> southern Oregon have heard this phrase and the general consensus is that it
> means 'the whole enchilada, kit and caboodle', etc. But we can't find
> anything that SAYS that's what it means. We have checked all our phrase
> books, quote books, slang dictionaries, and so on. Many thanks in advance."
>
> (http://www.americandialect.org/americandialectarchives/aug95.txt)
>
>
> It doesn't appear that anyone followed up on this, so -- fond of these
> expressions -- I went looking for some early usages of this seldom-used
> idiom. Better late than never.
>
> I should note first that DARE documents "Mary Ann(e)" as an adjective.
>
> 1872 Twain Roughing It 455, [In Honolulu] I saw cats—Tomcats, Mary Ann
> cats, long-tailed cats, bob-tailed cats.
> 1916 DN 4.342 seOH, Mary Ann. Vile; low; mean; e.g. “That is a Mary Anne
> saloon.” [DN Ed: “A Queen Anne front and Mary Ann back.” N. Eng. . . Also
> N. Car. . . ]
> [Ibid, Queen Anne. Beautiful: opposite of Mary Anne, q.v.]
>
> And Jon Lighter's "The Slang of the American Expeditionary Forces in
> Europe, 1917-1919: An Historical Glossary" (American Speech 47: 5-142,
> 1972) mentions "all to the Mary-Ann" (1929) with the meaning
> "satisfactory"; this is one of those "San Fairy Ann"/"Mary Ann" forms
> evolving from "ça ne fait rien."
>
> (OED lists three meanings: "[a]n effeminate man, or one who takes a female
> role; a homosexual man," "a marijuana cigarette," and "a taximeter.")
>
>
> I suspect that "the whole Mary Ann idea of city government" in the 1920
> excerpt (below) may have to do with a "Mary Ann ballot," an occasionally
> complex, sometimes unfair three- (or more) candidate ballot scheme that
> depended on voters ranking their candidate choices (sometimes in multiple
> voting rounds), then in place in Ohio and elsewhere. "Mary Ann ballot" goes
> back at least to 1905. (There was no further mention of "Mary Ann" in that
> 1920 editorial.)
>
> I'm at a loss to know how this type of balloting acquired its name, but I
> think it's at least possible that the "Mary Ann" voting mechanism may have
> given rise to "the whole Mary Ann," a phrase signifying "the whole lot; a
> collection of things; the whole thing."
>
> Unless someone comes up with a better theory (or 19th-c instances of "the
> whole Mary Ann").
>
> -- Bonnie
>
> ------------------
>
> For us to have raised that point would have been to arm those who know of
> our latent objection to the whole Mary Ann idea of city government with the
> specious argument that we were trying to kill the blessed and innocent
> charter for all the glory and advancement of the Republican party.
>
> [From "Is the Charter Any Good?", The Akron (OH) Beacon Journal, 1 January
> 1920, p. 4.]
>
> ------------------
>
> "The thing had no name until a friend of mine used it in Southeastern
> Alaska in a stream where rainbows, cutthroats, Dolly Vardens and salmon all
> abounded. He beat the heck out of me with my own creation, and, when he
> said 'Man, this catches 'em all; the whole Mary Ann of 'em,' the name was
> born."
>
> [From a description of the "Alaska Mary Ann Bucktail," a type of fishing
> lure, in Joseph D. Bates, Jr., _Streamer Fly Fishing in Fresh and Salt
> Water_ (D. Van Nostrand Co., 1950, p. 241).]
>
> ------------------
>
> Such a procedure would result in the whole Mary Ann going under a log jam
> at the first sharp bend, and it wouldn't come out either.
>
> [From a Google snippet view of Jay P. Williams's _Alaskan Adventure_
> (Stackpole Company, 1952). Williams is discussing how not to maneuver a
> boat downstream.]
>
> ------------------
>
> SACRIFICE ILL HEALTH -- man and wife variety store. Lower overhead; stock,
> fixtures, the whole Mary Ann, See Bill at H. de Waard Real Estate,
> Sutherlin, Oregon, Ph. 2142 P.O. Box 241.
>
> [A classified ad in The News-Review (Roseburg, OR), 3 September 1954, p.
> 14.]
>
> ------------------
>
> 324 Mixed cattle, 1,300 A. Deeded Modoc Co. 520 A. Irrig. Free water puts
> up spprox. 400 T. hay, 6-40 A. high Mt. meadow, long lease at S270. yearly,
> 3 Tractors all equip. large reservoir, 3 bdr. home the whole Mary Ann
> $183,000. $29% down.
>
> [From a classified ad in The Sacramento Bee, 27 April 1961, p. C17.]
>
> ------------------
>
> In Detroit when you talk about "the whole marianne" you mean the whole
> thing.
>
> [Arthur Unger's piece about teen slang, "The Creep Is Gone," The
> (Louisville, KY) Courier Journal, 18 June 1961, Section 3, p. 6.]
>
> ------------------
>
> Keppler scores the bottle with a red-hot iron. If it doesn't explode in the
> process he wraps the whole Mary-Ann with with [sic] adhesive tape, then
> comes a covering of fancy ribbons.
>
> [From Philip Harding's "The Cheerful Vintner" column, The Bakersfield
> Californian, 29 May 1963, p. 14. This phrase seems to have been a favorite
> of his.]
>
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org
>

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


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