[Ads-l] Trivia: heard _nut up_, HDAS "go crazy or go berserk" (UNCLASSIFIED)

Ben Zimmer bgzimmer at GMAIL.COM
Fri Aug 19 22:37:13 UTC 2016

One of my proudest moments writing the "On Language" column for the NY
Times Mag was getting The Gray Lady to print "sack up" and "nut up" (in my
column on "man up"):


On Fri, Aug 19, 2016 at 5:11 PM, MULLINS, WILLIAM D (Bill) CIV USARMY
RDECOM AMRDEC (US) <william.d.mullins18.civ at mail.mil> wrote:
> I've only heard the phrase used as a synonym for "man up," "cowboy up,"
> "put on your big boy pants," "grow a pair,"; i.e., quit being such a
> chickenshit and go ahead and do whatever it was you've been saying you'll
> do, instead of being such a puss.
> > -----Original Message-----
> > From: American Dialect Society [mailto:ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU] On
> Behalf Of Wilson Gray
> > Sent: Friday, August 19, 2016 3:57 PM
> > Subject: [Non-DoD Source] Trivia: heard _nut up_, HDAS "go crazy or go
> berserk"
> >
> >
> > Reality TV, white speaker:
> >
> > "When she saw me with my new girl, she just _nutted up_!"
> >
> > I haven't heard anyone say that in 65 years and never before anybody
> white say it before nor have I heard it used with that meaning before.
> >
> > Back in the The Lou in the '50's, to _nut up_ was to "burst into
> uncontrolled laughter, turning and bending at the waist, slapping thigh,
> > guffawing," etc. More-mature readers may recall this as one of Sammy
> Davis, Jr.'s shticks. Younger readers may have seen this parodied -
> > as a general black thing,  as it it is: been there, done that; and not
> as anyone's particular shtick- on Key & Peele.
> >
> > My WAG, FWIW, is that both uses derive ultimately from _go nuts_. But...
> >
> > Youneverknow.
> >
> >

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

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