"dust my broom" (was: "dig" probably not from Wolof)

Cohen, Gerald Leonard gcohen at UMR.EDU
Sat Dec 11 21:34:14 UTC 2004

In reply to Bill Mullins' question below:

> Where does "dust my broom" come from?

        "Dust my broom" isn't sexual; it merely means "leave." HDAS gives a long
        history for "dust" (= depart, clear out)  and gives an 1821 cite for "broom"
        (=to leave; the next earliest cite is 1932), but the presence of  jazz "broom"
        (verb) and "dust one's broom" may be independent of the 19c uses.

            This now is only a guess on my part: A custodian leaving after a day's (or
        night's) work might clean off his broom outside, so when he returns the next
        day, he won't start off with a broom full of dust. Perhaps housemaids did the
        same. So if one or the other said: "I'll dust my broom now," that would mean
        it's time to finish work and go home.  Then, by shortening, "I'll broom" (= I'll
        leave), with possibly no connection at all to the 19c "broom" attestation.

            Btw, there's a blues song which tells the sad tale of a man who's been
        mistreated by his woman and is planning to leave her. (See Google).  Here's
        the first verse:

        I'm gonna get up in the mornin'
        I believe I'll dust my broom (2x)
        Girlfriend, the black man you been lovin',
        girlfriend, can get my room.

        Gerald Cohen
> ----------
> From:         Mullins, Bill
> Sent:         Thursday, December 9, 2004 10:42 PM
> To:   Cohen, Gerald Leonard
> Subject:      RE: "dig" probably not from Wolof
> >For anyone interested in this general topic, see my article: "SexualTerms and Metaphors in th Blues, part 1", in: _Studies in Slang, Part V_, (book edited by Gerald Leonard Cohen), (Frankfurt a.M.: Peter Lang),
> >1997, pp.73-126. The quote from the Lil Johnson song appears on p. 88.
> >
> >Gerald Cohen
> Where does "dust my broom" come from?
> And does the article include Spinal Tap's "plow my beanfield"?

More information about the Ads-l mailing list