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

Ben Zimmer bgzimmer at GMAIL.COM
Wed Jul 26 23:13:07 UTC 2017

A commenter noted the related expression "jerk a knot in (someone's) tail,"
which HDAS includes. I've added an update to the Strong Language post.

On Wed, Jul 26, 2017 at 6:32 PM, Ben Zimmer <bgzimmer at gmail.com> wrote:

> Now blogged on Strong Language...
> https://stronglang.wordpress.com/2017/07/26/snatch-a-knot-in-their-ass/
> On Wed, Jul 26, 2017 at 4:55 PM, Ben Zimmer <bgzimmer at gmail.com> wrote:
>> An earlier cite from Georgia:
>> Macon (Ga.), Telegraph, Apr. 15, 1941, p. 4, co. 5 [Genealogybank]
>> BUT if he [F.D.R.] expects ALL the people to "rally round the flag, boys"
>> and do it with a snap and determination he'll have to snatch a knot in the
>> tails of those hellions who are deliberately trying to tie up production --
>> and do it NOW.
>> --J.N. Foreman, Norman Park, Ga.
>> On Wed, Jul 26, 2017 at 4:42 PM, Ben Zimmer <bgzimmer at gmail.com> wrote:
>>> http://www.marketwatch.com/story/suddenly-everyone-is-snatch
>>> ing-a-knot-and-heres-why-2017-07-26
>>> 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:
>>> https://twitter.com/kylegriffin1/status/890295376611344385
>>> Twitter thread discussing the expression:
>>> https://twitter.com/mattizcoop/status/890289306857811968
>>> 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.
>>> https://www.newspapers.com/newspage/265357254/
>>> ----
>>> 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.
>>> https://books.google.com/books?id=56w6u-oNtRMC
>>> ----
>>> 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.
>>> https://www.newspapers.com/newspage/309489104/
>>> ----
>>> 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.
>>> https://www.newspapers.com/newspage/186270600/
>>> ----

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