Teen follies

Arnold M. Zwicky zwicky at CSLI.STANFORD.EDU
Thu Dec 14 22:35:50 UTC 2006

On Dec 14, 2006, at 2:05 PM, Emily G. Cunningham wrote:

> I'm sorry to interrupt this thread with a non sequitur, but I'd
> never heard
> the phrase "beat all hollow" before. What is its origin? What does
> it mean?
> (besides "thoroughly beat", I presume...)

OED, under BEAT:

Phr. to beat all, anything, everything, etc., has been common in the
U.S. since the second quarter of the 19th cent. (A natural extension
of 4: cf. similar use of thrash, drub, lick, etc. The earlier
examples show the transition. In the colloquial to beat one hollow,
to sticks, to ribands, etc., there is a play upon other senses of beat.)

[19th century quote for "beat them hollow"]

yes, 'beat thoroughly'.

"beat them hollow" picks up (small numbers of) webhits from the UK,
NZ, AU, as well as US.


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

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