Mullins, Bill AMRDEC Bill.Mullins at US.ARMY.MIL
Thu May 6 15:05:46 UTC 2010

Classification: UNCLASSIFIED
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> -----Original Message-----
> From: American Dialect Society [mailto:ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU] On
> Behalf Of Jonathan Lighter
> Sent: Thursday, May 06, 2010 9:04 AM
> Subject: Re: Rat-tail(ed) [comb and] broom
> HDAS has _ignorant stick_ (in the related sense of "a shovel or a
hoe") only
> back to 1957. Not surprising for non-jazz BE slang, which is poorly
> represented in print before the '70s. "Ignorance stick" is a variant.

"Hole Digger Now Replaces Ignorant Stick", [headline] _Los Angeles
Sentinel_ (1934-2005); Aug 13, 1953; pg. A4 col 7

> The similar _idiot stick_ (again, a shovel or similar implement) is
> recorded from 1930 in WE.

"Evened Up the Score." _Chicago Daily Tribune_; Nov 20, 1904; pg. B6 col

""You see," said the nervous man, rising in the dust and looking around
over his glasses, "I used to be an attendant in the Illinois Home for
Feeble Minded, and when this fellow came along with his idiot stick I
carried me back to those days until I --" "

[the usage is a little ambiguous, but an earlier reference to a janitor
in the article makes me think that "idiot stick" refers to "broom".]

I also found references to rifles, fishing rods, sticks with bayonets on
the end, and slide rules as "Idiot sticks".

> GB reveals a recording by Red Allen, "Get the Mop (The Ignorant
> from late 1945 or very early '46.
> JL
Classification: UNCLASSIFIED
Caveats: NONE

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