(Shank's mare) rack/wrack

Geraldine Hizer Urqu at AOL.COM
Fri Jan 18 16:27:18 UTC 2008

Date:    Thu, 17 Jan 2008 11:29:21 -0500
From:     Wilson Gray <hwgray at GMAIL.COM>
Subject: Re: Shank's mare

Upon  occasion, I've racked my brain nearly to the point of wrack and ruin."

Thank you, "Wilson", for the great mnemonic! I rely strongly on  these. If a
discussion should arise, your distinction should be the  last word.

On Jan 17, 2008 10:29 AM, Geraldine Hizer <Urqu at aol.com>  wrote:
> ---------------------- Information from the mail header
> Sender:       American  Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:     Geraldine Hizer <Urqu at AOL.COM>
> Subject:     Re: Shank's mare
>  ----------------------------------------------------------
Date:     Thu, 17 Jan 2008 10:29:02 EST
From:    Geraldine Hizer  <Urqu at AOL.COM>
Subject: Re: Shank's mare

"Date:     Wed, 16 Jan 2008 14:13:17 -0600
From:     Scot LaFaive  <scotlafaive at GMAIL.COM>
Subject: Shank's mare

The   Merriam-Webster word of the day for Jan. 16 is "shank's mare."
to  MW it's been around at least since the 17th century. I  can't check DARE,
but  I'm mildly curious if it is or was a regionalism  in the U.S. Personally,
I  had never heard of this name for one's own  legs before today.


I love this expression - have even used  it, think it's so colorful. Do  a lot
of reading (and writing) about  medieval England, and I suppose  'shank' would
also be familiar term to  a butcher present-day.
I'm eager to hear the exchange your letter  generates.
Another query, if I may -
Does one wrack one's brain, or 'rack'  it? As I use the word in  conversation,
I'm spelling it 'rack', as in  the medieval torture  instrument...
I am loving this  Digest:)


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