"Don't just do something...."

Dan Goncharoff thegonch at GMAIL.COM
Mon May 2 00:31:08 UTC 2011

There seems to be a lot of attribution to Eisenhower, using the phrase
with Dulles. There is a specific attribution, however, to Adlai
Stevenson in the NYTimes on Feb. 25, 1956:


"He said he had 'figured out what the Republican orators mean by what
they call moderate progressivism'.All they mean, he said, is, 'don't
just do something! Stand there!'"


On Sun, May 1, 2011 at 6:51 PM, Jonathan Lighter <wuxxmupp2000 at gmail.com> wrote:
> ---------------------- Information from the mail header -----------------------
> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       Jonathan Lighter <wuxxmupp2000 at GMAIL.COM>
> Subject:      "Don't just do something...."
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> CNN person: "There's a joke on Wall Street: 'Don't just do something, Stand
> there.'"  In other words, don't take part in a buying or selling panic.
> But it isn't just on Wall Street. GB reveals thousands of exx., with varying
> nuances.
> The earliest is allegedly from Newsweek, vol. 45 (1955). I can't verify the
> date, but the snippet congruously mentions Gwen Verdon in _Damn Yankees_:
> "...once made a rehearsal director shout, 'Don't just do something! Stand
> there!'"
> The phrase appears regularly since the mid '50s.
> JL
> --
> "If the truth is half as bad as I think it is, you can't handle the truth."
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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

More information about the Ads-l mailing list