African-American expressions from August Wilson

Herb Stahlke hfwstahlke at GMAIL.COM
Sun Dec 23 00:53:12 UTC 2012

Is this becoming a snowclone "like {denom. adj.] on [noun]"?  I've also
heard "like stink on shit."


On Sat, Dec 22, 2012 at 7:08 PM, Wilson Gray <hwgray at> wrote:

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> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       Wilson Gray <hwgray at GMAIL.COM>
> Subject:      Re: African-American expressions from August Wilson
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> On Thu, Dec 20, 2012 at 6:52 PM, Dan Goncharoff <thegonch at>
> wrote:
> > "Closeness" doesn't seem relevant.
> "Closeness" in the sense that "white" is so close to "rice" that the
> former can't be separated from the latter. It's the whole point of the
> expression. Rice can't get away from white, because white is all over
> rice like, well, white on rice.
> BTW, does this discussion mean that it's the case that "like white on
> rice" is *not* standard American English? If it does mean that, then I
> haven't been so surprised since I found out, back in 1960, that "fuck
> over (someone)" wasn't a casual obscenity known to every red-blooded
> American male and not just to the black ones.
> As it happens, even today, I've seen only a single, documented
> instance of "fuck over somebody" - as opposed to "fuck somebody over"
> - used by a white person.
> FWIW, IME, "white" in this expression has nothing whatsoever to do
> with any aspect of race. If you can't make a rhyme, then assonance
> will just have to do.
> --
> -Wilson
> -----
> 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
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