[Ads-l] Phrase: to take a mike out (April 6, 1895); taking the 'mike' out of (July 20, 1901); to take a "mike" out (March 14, 1922)

Cohen, Gerald Leonard gcohen at MST.EDU
Fri Jul 13 19:52:28 UTC 2018

This may or may not be relevant. I see there was a radio drama

in 2014 about WWI and supposedly based on actual unit war diaries.

One of the characters is Mickey Bliss.

First, there's Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tommies_(radio_drama)

"Tommies is a British radio drama series, broadcast on BBC Radio 4<https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/BBC_Radio_4>.

It is part of the BBC's World War I centenary season<https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/BBC_World_War_I_centenary_season> and planned to be

broadcast over four years,[ the same length of time as the war itself.

Based on actual unit war  diaries, it tells the story of a one day in the

 conflict exactly 100 years ago to the day."

Next, there's a website which says: "Lee Ross Talks about Playing

Mickey  Bliss in TOMMIES." Mickey Bliss is a Sergeant, Signals Section,

Lahore Division of the British Indian Army. When he eventually

winds up on the front lines in WWI setting up all the communications,

he is enormously frustrated.  He knows the German have superior

listening equipment to the British, and he knows what to do to

improve the situation. But he is only a signaler, not an officer,

and his suggestions are dismissed rather contemptuously.


Now, if this story is historically accurate, we would see a Mickey

Bliss, who from the viewpoint of the officers is on the uppity

side (trying to tell them that they're doing things wrong and

how things should really be done).  And they put him in his


Putting someone in his place. That's what taking

the Mickey (Bliss) out of someone is all about. Of course,

"take the mike out" is earlier, but the specific words

"Mickey Bliss" evidently came only later.

Gerald Cohen

From: American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU> on behalf of ADSGarson O'Toole <adsgarsonotoole at GMAIL.COM>
Sent: Thursday, July 12, 2018 3:21 PM
Subject: Re: Phrase: to take a mike out (April 6, 1895); taking the 'mike' out of (July 20, 1901); to take a "mike" out (March 14, 1922)

Update: The final line of the excerpt for the 1922 citation was
inaccurate. Here is the corrected excerpt.

Date: March 14, 1922
Newspaper: Northern Daily Mail
Newspaper Location: West Hartlepool, England (Durham, England)
Article: Bewildered Judge
Quote Page 3, Column 2
Database: British Newspaper Archive

[Begin excerpt - check for errors]
Judge Sir T. Granger: Let me know by
all means what the expression conveys. I
don=E2=80=99t wish to be like the judges of the
High Court. (Laughter.)

Witness explained that a "mike"
meant to take a rise out of him.
[End excerpt]


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

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

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