[Ads-l] "snatch a knot in" = "hit, spank"

Ben Zimmer bgzimmer at GMAIL.COM
Wed Jul 26 20:42:26 UTC 2017

Expressing befuddlement — and engendering it at the same time — over the
Senate’s failure to pass, as yet, any of its several legislative efforts to
overhaul the Affordable Care Act, Rep. Buddy Carter, a Georgia Republican,
offered a colorful and presumably aggressive strategy during an MSNBC
interview Wednesday: "Somebody needs to go over there to that Senate and
snatch a knot in their ass."

Video here:

Twitter thread discussing the expression:

I don't see anything in the slang dictionaries on this. It appears to be
primarily a Southernism -- perhaps originating in Georgia and the Florida
panhandle. The earliest cite I found is from Pensacola, Fla., and the
second earliest is from Roy Blount Jr., who grew up in Decatur, Ga.

Pensacola (Fla.) News Journal, Dec. 25, 1978, p. 64
"Santa pulls them aside and gives them the word he's going to snatch a knot
in their heads if they don't behave," he says with a twinkle in his eye.
Roy Blount Jr., _One Fell Soup: Or, I'm Just a Bug on the Windshield of
Life_, 1982 [1984], p. 71
"But if you could find it in your heart not to saddle them with a criminal
record, could you just let me snatch a knot in them?"
And I would snatch a knot in them.
I don't mean physically. I don't pound on my children.
Springfield (Mo.) Leader and Press, June 16, 1986, p. 11
I am willing to concede my suggestion that those people snatch a knot in
that child might be ill-founded.
Philadelphia Daily News, Sep. 28, 1987, p. 37
If you read the piece carefully, you can feel the pain and indignation of a
parent who would snatch a knot in her child before she would see him become
one the vermin who sell death and misery on street corners.


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

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