"Bet a fat man"

John Doe hwgray at GMAIL.COM
Tue Dec 17 04:56:14 UTC 2013

Jonathon Green suggests:

[? the fig. size of one’s wager]

FWIW, AFAIK, a "fat man" is the thousand-dollar banknote issued in 1934
that features a portrait of Grover Cleveland, renowned for being, among
other things, a *fat man*. This is only a story that I heard, about 65
years ago. It makes sense, especially if, as Jonathon surmises, the saying
dates from the '30's, when a thousand would have been an
almost-unimaginable amount of money to the boyz n da 'hood. Well, it was
*still* an almost-unimaginable amour of money, in the '60's.

In HDAS, Jon cites _fat mouth_ as "a loudmouth; (hence) a fool." My mother,
b. 1913, used the expression, "(natural) fat mouth," only in the sense of
"(utter) fool: "Don't let in-ty bot-ty use you for a natural good thing!"
OTOH, me n my boyz, we used _fat mouth_ in the sense of "a gossip, of
either sex, who can't/won't keep a secret."

BTW, on YouTube, I've come across instances of this emphatic pronunciation
of "any" as "inty" used by white Southern-speakers. It's good to know that
it's still alive and well among all of the good old home-folk.
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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