"cellar door"

Grant Barrett gbarrett at WORLDNEWYORK.ORG
Sat Feb 20 03:41:15 UTC 2010

> I wonder how many people nowadays  have any notion of what the words
> "sliding down our cellar door" (in "I Don't Want to Play in Your
> Yard") refer to.

Judging by the email from Times readers, everyone. Lots of people
wrote to me to tell me about the song (which my own Nana sang to her
grandkids). The letters usually start with something condescending
like "perhaps you're too young" or overblown like "I am shocked you
didn't mention" or loaded with buckets of false gotcha "I have the

Geoff Nunberg's Beerbohm quote is one I found, too, and there are many
works targeted at children in the 1800s that talk about the beauty of
certain words, especially "mother," which are beautiful because of
their meaning rather than because of any other characteristic of the

Grant Barrett
grantbarrett at gmail.com

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

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