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

ADSGarson O'Toole adsgarsonotoole at GMAIL.COM
Mon Feb 8 02:00:22 EST 2021

The Quote Investigator article is now available:

Don’t ASS-U-ME Anything

[Begin acknowledgment]
Great thanks to Lee Spilberg whose inquiry led QI to formulate this
question and perform this exploration. Also, thanks to mailing list
discussants Jim Landau, Barry Popik, Laurence Horn, Dave Wilton, and
John Baker.
[End acknowledgment]

Garson O'Toole

On Sat, Feb 6, 2021 at 3:47 PM ADSGarson O'Toole
<adsgarsonotoole at gmail.com> wrote:
> 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.
> https://boards.straightdope.com/t/who-was-the-first-to-make-an-ass-out-of-u-and-me/458244/64
> [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,
> Garson

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

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