"bone in her teeth"

Wilson Gray hwgray at GMAIL.COM
Sat May 28 18:38:59 UTC 2011

On Sat, May 28, 2011 at 2:12 PM, Joel S. Berson <Berson at att.net> wrote:
> Insufficient imagination on my part. Â "Bone in her mouth" indeed also
> is in the OED, dated 1627, with its only other quotation
> 1851. Â "Bone, n.", sense 14.b. Â I can only claim absence from the OED
> for the "teeth" variant.

FWIW, IMO, Joel's feeling that "bone in her _teeth_" is worthy of its
own cite is righteous. It occurs in all sorts of writing, short
stories, novels, etc., having to do with The War At Sea. My relatives
who have served aboard ship, including one of my brothers who served
in Vietnam, use this phrase in their telling of sea stories (the poor
stepsibling of war stories).

Forcing a user to have to go back to 1627 to find an obsolete variant
that doesn't present quite the same picture is unworthy of the
dictionary of record.

All say, "How hard it is that we have to die!"---a strange complaint
to come from the mouths of people who have had to live.
-Mark Twain

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

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