POTE-niss thang!

Douglas G. Wilson douglas at NB.NET
Tue Apr 27 03:57:52 UTC 2004

>"POTE-niss" : What is it?
>        That's approximately the way it's always sounded to my ear, since I
>was a child in East Texas, back in the late 'Thirties. Are any other
>Southerners or Texans out there who are familiar with this? It occurs
>in the 1938 novel, Journeyman, by Erskine Caldwell, who wrote it as
>"potentest": "He's the potentest thing!" It means, "He's the, e.g.
>cutest/sweetest/nicest thing!" for any Yankees who may read this. It's
>not in DARE and Google finds only Caldwell.

It needs to be in DARE, I guess ... unless it's there somewhere ....

My first assumption, since Caldwell writes "potentest", is that it's
"potentest" = "most potent".

Can it refer to a woman? To a baby? To an automobile?

-- Doug Wilson

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