Pronoun [was Finally!]

Jonathan Lighter wuxxmupp2000 at YAHOO.COM
Thu Sep 27 01:04:45 UTC 2007

Am disappointed to see that the authors of that article did not find the historical perspective in HDAS of any use or interest.

  Re-evaluating the evidence after more than a dozen years, I now feel that the exx. prior to 1916 are uncomfortably ambiguous, though not necessarily to be discounted, while the earliest, from no later than 1719., at least suggests the sort of context that helped inspire the idiom.

  The 1916 is from the noted vulgarian T.S. Eliot, who also furnishes an early ex. of "bullshit."
  He rhymes "klassic" with "made her ass sick."


"Arnold M. Zwicky" <zwicky at CSLI.STANFORD.EDU> wrote:
  ---------------------- Information from the mail header -----------------------
Sender: American Dialect Society
Poster: "Arnold M. Zwicky"
Subject: Re: Finally!

On Sep 26, 2007, at 2:24 PM, Wilson Gray wrote, to dInIs:

> How does the following, heard on the tube, strike you:
> "Step your ass on into this house!"
> I have a friend who's used to hearing this kind of construction, but
> he doesn't really understand it, He often greets me by saying, "How's
> your ass?" For a long time, I couldn't understand his interest in the
> state of my arse. Then it occurred to me that he had assumed that
> "your ass" in constructions such as that above was could simply be
> replaced by "you."

ah, there's now a pulished account of "X's ass" for reference to
persons and things:

Beavers, John & Andrew Koontz-Garboden. 2006. A universal pronoun
in English?. Linguistic Inquiry 37.3.503-513. Download final
published version (via Ingenta):


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