African-American expressions from August Wilson

Wilson Gray hwgray at GMAIL.COM
Sun Dec 23 01:33:42 UTC 2012

On Wed, Dec 19, 2012 at 7:45 PM, Joel S. Berson <Berson at> wrote:
> West is gonna dress you.

It's just rhyming slang. Recall that characters who were on the verge
of death were said to be "ready for Freddy[, the undertaker,]" in an
episode of Al Capp's _Li'l Abner_, back in the '40's.

In transit - Volumes 56-57
Amalgamated Transit Union, Amalgamated Association of Street, Electric
Railway and Motor Coach Employees of America - 1948 - Snippet view -
More editions
B. Paul, who was _"ready for Freddy"_, recovered and gained weight.

There's no need to overthink "West" into a person with a basis in
fact. "West" [wEs] merely rhymes with "dress," just as "Freddy" rhymes
with "ready."

I was introduced to "ready…" by Capp, but I have no idea whether he
invented the phrase.
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 -

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