catchphrases not in Whiting, part 4

Mon Nov 1 18:07:23 UTC 1999

More proverbs or catchphrases from my notes, taking us through the
letter O.  As it happens, just as vol. 1 of RHHDAS was noticably
fatter than vol. 2, so my notes for A-G are more extensive than H-O
or P-Z.  Would that Random House would show us vol. P-Z of RHHDAS, so
we could see its thickness.  Anyway, I will finish this up with
another posting or two.


1828:   The officers having pursued them, arrived just in time to be
too late, for the parties had a very few minutes previous left to
embark on board the steam boat for Philadelphia. . . .
        New-York Evening Post, April 10, 1828, p. 2, col. 5, from J Commerce

1834:   It was a truly ludicrous scene to behold all these gentry,
"who were just in time to be too late," with bundles, carpet-bags,
and bandboxes, remaining stationary on shore, faintly hoping that the
captain, out of pity, might stop the machinery and take them on
        Carl David Arfwedson, The United States and Canada in 1832,
1833, and 1834, London: Richard Bentley, 1834, repr. by N. Y. &
London: Johnson Reprint Co., 1969, ed. by Marvin Fisher, vol. 1, p.

        This is in Ulysses: one of the barflies uses it in the Cyclops
chapter.  Greg Downing will have the exact quotation.

Not in RHHDAS; Whiting, EAPPP; Taylor & Whiting; nor Whiting, MPPS;
OED: 1816 (late, A. 2. a)


1840:   Since then it has been "My dear and my darling, my duck
and my chicken," and sometimes they are kissing and sometimes they
are kicking. . . .
        New York Daily Express, February 12, 1840, p. 2, col. 6

Not in RHHDAS; Whiting, EAPPP; Taylor & Whiting; not Whiting, MPPS


1836:   [William Robinson, sentenced to ten years:] That's no
time at all, I can live it out like a knife.
        The Herald, August 15, 1836, p. 2, col. 4

Not in RHHDAS, under "knife" or "live"; nor Taylor & Whiting;
Whiting, MPPS has several phrases associating knives with quickness,
but not this.


1822:   He ought to have a "leather medal" for his design.
        XYZ.  A Knickerbocker Tour of New York State, 1822.  Louis
Leonard Tucker, ed.  Albany: Univ. of the State of New York, The
State Education Dept., New York State Library, 1968, p. 39

1826:   [a man executes his horse, ceremoniously].  For this
gallant act of bravery, it is recommended that the ladies and
gentlemen of the place should present him with a leather medal.
        The Long-Island Star, February 9, 1826, p. 2, col. 5

1843:   Reward of Merit. [for "some recent specimens of American
Sagacity and contrivance" during an election.]  1.  A Leather Medal
each — very thick and solid. . . . [to some voters].  A pair of horn
goggles — regular dead-eyes -- [to other voters].
        New-York Daily Tribune, November 9, 1843, p. 2, col. 3

There are variants of this phrase.  I remember having seen "putty
medal" but can't document it.

RHHDAS: 1831, citing OED; not in Whiting, EAPPP; nor Taylor &
Whiting; DAE: 1837; OED: 1831


1866:   These courtesies were like an invitation from a Captain
to a Midshipman, "no compulsion, only you must."
        Thomas J. Dimsdale, The Vigilantes of Montana. . . .  Virginia

Not in Whiting, EAPPP; Taylor & Whiting; nor Whiting, MPPS; OED: 1882
(must, verb, 8.b)


1933:   Just make a noise like a fish but keep your eyes open.
        Cornelius W. Willemse, A Cop Remembers, N. Y.: E. P. Dutton, 1933, p. 84

RHHDAS: has 5 variations on "make a noise like ---", 1902-1959, as
subhead under "noise", but all but the 1908 cite has the sense of "go
away"; none mean keep still; not in Taylor & Whiting nor Whiting,

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