[Ads-l] Quip: Don't assume; you make an ass of u and me

ADSGarson O'Toole adsgarsonotoole at GMAIL.COM
Sat Feb 6 15:47:52 EST 2021

I received a request yesterday to explore the quip in the subject line
by a person who encountered the joke within a 1973 episode of "The Odd
Couple" television series.

Way back in 2004 there was a discussion thread about the saying with
participants Barry Popik, Laurence Horn, Dave Wilton and John Baker.
The earliest citation given in the thread was from 1984.

"The Dictionary of Modern Proverbs" (2012) has a pertinent entry with
an initial citation in 1975.
[Begin DMP entry title]
Assume makes an ass of you and me (u and me).
[End DMP entry title]

On a discussion board at the Straight Dope website samclem stated in
2014 that he had found a match in Google Books with a 1959 date.
Unfortunately, he did not give any details, and I haven't been able to
relocate it to verify it.
[Begin excerpt] from samclem
I just took it back to a Google book cite from 1959. Business school journal.
[End excerpt from samclem]

I couldn't find an entry on Barry Popik's website.

Currently, the earliest match I have located and verified is the
following from 1957.

[ref] 1957 December 26, Rio Grande Sun, (Advertisement from Horace
DeVargas Agency, auto insurance company), Quote Page 10, Column 6,
Espanola, New Mexico. (Newspapers_com) [/ref]

[Begin excerpt]
Third, I urge you, as a driver, to observe the rules of traffic and
highway safety in the operation of your car.
Don't ass-u-me anything, when you drive because, you'll make an ass of
u and me—ass-u-me.
[End excerpt]

Earlier evidence would be welcome,

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

More information about the Ads-l mailing list