Q: "oil the dog's wig"?

Jonathan Lighter wuxxmupp2000 at YAHOO.COM
Tue Jan 22 14:55:25 UTC 2008

That's probably a synechdochical "ass."  HDAS files have "wax," to thrash, trounce, drub, etc.," back to 1880.  The use with "ass" is common but not required.

  It frequently appears in the Vietnam War literature, and latterly in crime books, in the extended sense of "to kill, destroy, etc."

  Factoid: from about ten years ago, have told me it also means "(of a male) to have sexual intercourse with."


Dennis Preston <preston at MSU.EDU> wrote:
  ---------------------- Information from the mail header -----------------------
Sender: American Dialect Society
Poster: Dennis Preston

Subject: Re: Q: "oil the dog's wig"?

Danged if I don't remember "wax your ass" too (Southern Illinois,
Indiana, Louisville area - 1950's). The homophony of "whacks" and
"wax" for many nonstandard speakers makes me wonder about some
historical contamination.


>---------------------- Information from the mail header
>Sender: American Dialect Society
>Poster: Charles Doyle
>Subject: Re: Q: "oil the dog's wig"?
>I am reminded (somehow) of an expression prevalent in my youth in
>Texas in the 1960s: to "wax (someone's) ass," meaning 'administer a
>sound beating'. It's probably in HDAS, but I own only one copy
>(alas), which is at home, where I am not . . . .
>---- Original message ----
>>Date: Mon, 21 Jan 2008 19:18:42 -0800
>>From: Jonathan Lighter
>>Subject: Re: Q: "oil the dog's wig"?
>>"Dog" undoubtedly = S.O.B. To "oil his wig" might mean to beat him
>>on the head, possibly till blood flowed.
>> JL
>>"Joel S. Berson" wrote:
>>Is this of any interest, and how is it explained?
>>In the 1784 _The Whimsical Jester: or, Rochester in High Glee_,
>>there is a bit on jargon that allegedly "flew about" on the
>>occasion of a boxing-match. One item is from the barber's speech:
>>"oil the dog's wig for him".
>The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

Dennis R. Preston
University Distinguished Professor
Department of English
Morrill Hall 15-C
Michigan State University
East Lansing, MI 48864 USA

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

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