Air Force Language (1962); Medical Slang (1994)

Douglas G. Wilson douglas at NB.NET
Wed Jul 25 20:47:01 UTC 2001

 From James Landau:

> >  _buy it_--To crash; a short form of _buy the farm_. (RHHDAS 1954)
>Hmmm.  So Heinlein did NOT invent "buy the farm" for his book _Starship

The interesting thing here is that "buy it" apparently predates "buy the
farm". Partridge shows "buy it" from WW I, perhaps originally "buy a
packet". "Buy the farm" apparently dates from around WW II. So apparently
"the farm" was added in place of "it". There is also "buy the ranch" in the
same sense. As we recall from "Starship Troopers", there is also the
contrast between "buy the whole farm" = "be killed" and "buy a piece of a
farm" = "be wounded".

Now here is an interesting question: was there ever an equivalent "buy the
whole nine yards" = "die" or so? (Cf. RHHDAS under "nine yards" [Wellman
citation], IIRC.)

-- Doug Wilson

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