[Ads-l] _hit in the face with the ugly stick_

Ben Zimmer bgzimmer at GMAIL.COM
Tue Oct 18 20:57:27 EDT 2016

Green's Dictionary of Slang has:

_beat with an ugly stick_ (v.) (also _hit over the head with an/the ugly
stick_, _slap..._, _whip...)
1. (Aus./US) to cause to be unattractive; often as a supposed reason for
one’s lack of good looks, e.g. _he was beat with an ugly stick_.
1985 [Aus] B. Humphries _Traveller’s Tool_ 20: You’d swear they’d all been
hit over the head with the ugly stick.
1989 [US] P. Munro _Sl. U._ 28: be beat with an ugly stick / be slapped
with an ugly stick / be whipped with an ugly stick to be ugly (often used
as a reason for why someone should be ugly).
1996–2000 [US] (con. 1940s) Deuce Ofay Productions ‘The Jive Bible’ at
JiveOn.com [Internet] Angela, what you doin’ wit’ Rick? He ’bout as low as
you can go wit’ out somebody takin’ the ugly stick to yo’ head!
2010 [UK] K. Richards _Life_ 134 Your old lady’s so ugly, I had to chase
her away with an ugly stick.

On Tue, Oct 18, 2016 at 8:55 PM, Baker, John <JBAKER at stradley.com> wrote:

> "Hit with the ugly stick" (no reference to "face") rings a bell, although
> I can't place it.  Newspapers.com has "whupped with an ugly stick" in three
> examples from 1959, all in Texas newspapers.  One of these is "whupped wif
> a ugly stick," which probably is an imitation of African-American speech,
> but the other two are standard English except for "whupped."
> John Baker
> -----Original Message-----
> From: American Dialect Society [mailto:ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU] On Behalf
> Of Jim Parish
> Sent: Tuesday, October 18, 2016 5:24 PM
> Subject: Re: _hit in the face with the ugly stick_
> Wilson Gray wrote:
> > On Tue, Oct 18, 2016 at 5:05 PM, Jim Parish <jparish at siue.edu> wrote:
> >
> >> the "ugly stick", which did physical damage and also decreased the
> >> Charisma of the victim.
> >
> > Specifically when the victim was "hit in the face with the ugly stick"?
> >
> I think the phrase which inspired me was something like "bein' whupped
> with the ugly stick".

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