"bring it on!"

Wilson Gray hwgray at GMAIL.COM
Sat Jun 14 20:55:55 UTC 2008

Just as a WAG, I'd say that's it's been around at least as long as
I've been able to fathom the English language, ca. seventy years. It's
a common "wolfing" threat.

Are you serious that this is new to you? Or is it your point that it
has only recently appeared where Northern(?) white academics have
heard it or read it, there being no reason for me to suspect that its
use has heretofore been peculiar to the speech of blacks?

Of course, I also thought that the the phrase, "fuck over [someone]" -
not to be confused with "fuck [someone] over" - was likewise used by
everyone, regardless of race, etc.

FWIW, I've often heard the euphemistic "screw [someone] over," but
I've never heard a euphemistic version of "fuck over [someone]." That
could be because it's been dekkids since I last hung out. Indeed, the
obligatory use of "out" with "hung" seriously dates me.

My wife, a sixty-ish white woman, is likewise sure that "Bring it on!"
as a threat has been around for ages. But what do women know about guy

BTW, how can anyone claim that some word or phrase has never been used
before, simply because he himself has never heard or read it?

Well, I admit that I once thought in a similar vein, myself. Remember
our discussion of "gwine," which I would have once sworn had died out
around 1850, because I had never heard it spoken by a single black
person, out of thousands, dead or alive? The pronunciation that I was
accustomed to hearing in the 'hood was approximately [gOuwIn]. But,
thanks to iTunes' monster catalog of blues songs, I now know that
"gwine" was used by some BE speakers till at least the 1970's! It may
even still be being used. I just haven't heard it, not having been
south of northeast PA in dekkids.



On Sat, Jun 14, 2008 at 12:42 PM, Arnold M. Zwicky
<zwicky at csli.stanford.edu> wrote:
> ---------------------- Information from the mail header -----------------------
> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       "Arnold M. Zwicky" <zwicky at CSLI.STANFORD.EDU>
> Subject:      "bring it on!"
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> from Bruce Webster, who suggested this as a topic for Language Log.  i
> don't have the answer to his question, and tracking phrase origins is
> not my thing.  but ADS-L would be an appropriate place to pose the
> question.
> as it turns out, Grant Barrett asked about the phrase here on 2/2/04:
> http://listserv.linguistlist.org/cgi-bin/wa?A2=ind0402A&L=ADS-L&P=R1958&I=-3
> but i see no record of his getting a response.  anyone have any fresh
> insights?
> Begin forwarded message:
>> Irregular Webcomic (which, despite the name, is published daily)
>> carries on several separate stories -- all in different settings and
>> time periods -- using Legos. One story is an "Indiana Jones" parody,
>> modeled roughly after "Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade". Here's
>> today's strip:
>>   http://www.irregularwebcomic.net/1966.html
>> The author's notes below the strip state:
>>   I initially wrote Monty's line in the second panel as, "Bring it
>> on!"
>>   Of course I doubt anyone ever said, "Bring it on," before the 1990s.
>> So, how old _is_ that phrase?  ..bruce..
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

All say, "How hard it is that we have to die"---a strange complaint to
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 -Sam'l Clemens

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