[Ads-l] "Get My Goat" - antedating 1900

Peter Reitan pjreitan at HOTMAIL.COM
Fri Jun 3 23:04:29 UTC 2016

A reader of my blog alerted me to an example of "get my goat" five years older than the previously known "earliest" example found, I believe, by Stephen Goranson.  

In my earlier blogpost, I surmised that the expression may have originated in the Navy, and made its way into boxing circles through Navy boxers.  Most of the early examples of use were in boxing reports; an early explanation of the expression said it was naval slang; and the Navy had a long history of having goats as mascots (or sources of milk) on ships (the Naval Academy's mascot is still a Goat).  This newly noted reference, from November, 1900, shows the idiom in an excerpt from a letter home from a sailor; who assures people back home that he is going to come home when his enlistment expires, "unless some Navy boxer gets my goat."

"My enlistment expires June 15, 1904," writes Krebs, "when I return to Atchison [Kansas], unless some boxer gets my goat."

 The Topeka State Journal, November 28, 1900, page 2 (chronicling America).

See my "Get My Goat" Update.
The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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