"When the going gets tough, …"

Charles C Doyle cdoyle at UGA.EDU
Fri Apr 12 17:26:33 UTC 2013

Here's what the _Dictionary of Modern Proverbs_ says:

When the going gets tough, the tough get going.  1954  Charleston [WV] Daily Mail 4 May:  "Frank Leahy, now an actor, is back coaching football in front of a camera and the material is as good as it used to be at Notre Dame . . . . He also inserted his own personal football motto into the dialogue: 'When the going gets tough, the tough get going.'"  1956  Los Angeles Times 24 Aug.:  "Former Notre Dame Coach Frank Leahy in seconding Ike’s nomination stirred the audience with a motto for football and politics:  'When the going gets tough, the tough get going.'"  ODP 135, RHDP 364, YBQ Leahy, DAAP 320;  Bassin (1984) 51-56, Rees (1984) 238, Pickering et al.(1992) 235, Rees (1995) 501, Pickering (2001) 157.  Beginning in the 1960s, the attribution of the saying to Joseph P. Kennedy became common.


From: American Dialect Society [ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU] on behalf of Arnold Zwicky [zwicky at STANFORD.EDU]
Sent: Friday, April 12, 2013 11:44 AM

"the tough get going". This proverb figures in a posting on a Zippy cartoon, here:

in that posting, i quote Wikipedia speculations about the source.  i can't at the moment locate my copy of the Dictionary of Modern Proverbs, so i don't know if it's in there.  anyone have the skinny on the proverb?


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