push comes to shove (1924)

Robin Hamilton robin.hamilton2 at BTINTERNET.COM
Fri Feb 26 19:05:19 UTC 2010

I'm not sure how relevant this is to the current thread, but in Larrikin
(Australia, Sidney, working class, late 19thC) speech, "push" was the term
used for a gang.  ("Gang" in the sense of a grouping of like-minded usually
male persons, not necessarily, and indeed probably very much not,

Thus, as one larrikin poem describes at great length, "I gave up the push
for my donah."


----- Original Message -----
From: "Arnold Zwicky" <zwicky at STANFORD.EDU>
Sent: Friday, February 26, 2010 1:37 PM
Subject: Re: push comes to shove (1924)

> ---------------------- Information from the mail
> header -----------------------
> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       Arnold Zwicky <zwicky at STANFORD.EDU>
> Subject:      Re: push comes to shove (1924)
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> On Feb 26, 2010, at 8:14 AM, Ben Zimmer wrote:
>> The latest OED draft entry for "push" has "if/when push comes to
>> shove" from 1940. Some earlier cites (the first three are from "The
>> Week," by Defender columnist Roscoe Simmons): [1924, 1926, 1931,
>> 1932, 1935, 1937]
> there are also instances of truncated "push comes to shove", with no
> overt "if/when". *huge* number of examples in titles (Twyla Tharp
> dance, for example), but some in text:
> The United States has no national interests in Georgia; Russia does.
> Push comes to shove, we won't go to war for Georgia and should
> therefore not indicate or imply that we would, it makes the Georgian's
> take excessive risks.
>   http://broadsunlituplands.wordpress.com/2008/08/
> also instances of headlines where what's conveyed is 'push has come to
> shove':
> Push comes to shove in Pa. budget process
> http://blog.pennlive.com/lehighvalley/2007/06/push_comes_to_shove_in_pa_budg.html
> arnold
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