Historically Speaking

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Posts Tagged ‘1845’

Tuckered Out

Posted by Admin on May 2, 2011

There was American New York Metropolitan Opera Tenor Richard Tucker (1914 – 1975) and there was Russian-born American vaudeville entertainer Sophie Tucker (1884 – 1966) but neither of them is responsible for the expression “tuckered out.”  The expression means to the individual is completely exhausted and worn out.  So where did this expression come from in the first place and how long has it been in use?

Back on April 12, 1962, The Telegraph newspaper in Nashua, New Hampshire ran an Associated Press story entitled “Weekend Food News” that started with this:

The household gardener, tuckered out from raking, pruning and planting this weekend, will welcome a hearty meal, and the nation’s supermarkets are cooperating with a good variety of main course specials.

When the Evening Independent newspaper of St. Petersburg, Florida ran its story “News Behind The News: The National Whirligig” by George Durno on April 12, 1934, subscribers read:

That’s why a lot of the boys prefer to believe the story that President Roosevelt left Washington on March 27 for the Nourmahal cruise so tuckered out from the grind that it was five days before he began to feel himself.  They insist the week’s extension of the cruise was made only to give Mr. Roosevelt a whack at a brief respite from office while he really felt in the mood.

On December 1, 1903 the New York Times ran an article entitled “Gleeful Freshmen Dine: Frustrated Sophomores’ Efforts to Prevent Their Banquet.”  It’s amazing to see that college students don’t change from generation to generation as shown in the first paragraph of the news article:

Columbia College freshmen fought a fight with their traditional enemies, the sophomores, yesterday. Night found them banqueting at the Ansonia depleted in number, but proud and flushed with victory. Up near the college ten of their men still lingered in a dungeon deep, but a hundred of them scratched and tuckered out, but creditable classmen, sat at the banquet board, indifferent to the sophomores who in the street were hooting and yelling in impotent wrath.

The Providence Press provided a colourful description of one account of life in Colorado on January 29, 1875 in an article entitled, “Cold In Colorado: A Graphic Account Of It and One To Be Taken Cautiously.”  It read in part:

But all but one feller got tixed up and did pretty well. Scarred Pete and Long Jim was perty well tuckered out though.  You see when she got warm, we began to sort o’thaw out, and the jabs and cuts we got that night began to tell on us, and the bigger the cut the more we bled.  Now, stranger, that was only one of the effects of that little cold snap, t’wastn’t nothin’ to what happened afterward!

The New York Times published a news article entitled “How To Visit New York and See The Crystal Palace” on July 12, 1853.  It included this tidbit of information:

If at any time there seems to be a lack of bodily or mental energy, take advice from Nature, and let Sleep, the good old nurse, compose you to rest.  She will pour out a balm for your refreshment, that will seem to take a year’s burdens from your back.  Give her an extra hour, or more if so disposed, and she will bring out the jaded spirit from the nursery, as young and spruce and benignant as a bridegroom from his barber’s.  When tuckered out, let a traveler go to bed, whether it is dark or daylight, bedtime or the time to eat, and there lie until he has squared all accounts with Master Somnus, and every muscle is hungry for action.

And in 1845, author Caroline Matilda Kirkland (1801 – 1864) wrote a book entitled, “Western Clearings” in which the following passage can be found:

“How are you this morning, Mrs. Ashburn?” asked the young visitant as she entered the wretched den, her little basket on her arm, her sweet face all flushed, and her eyes more than half-suffused with tears — the effect of the keen morning wind, we suppose.

“Law sakes alive!” was the reply, “I ain’t no how. I’m clear tuckered out with these young’ uns. They’ve had the agur already this morning, and they’re as cross as bear-cubs.”

“Ma!” screamed one, as if in confirmation of the maternal remark, “I want some tea!”

“Tea! I ha’n’t got no tea, and you know that well enough!”

“Well, give me a piece o’ sweetcake then, and a pickle.”

The expression according to Webster’s Dictionary is New England slang of uncertain origin that means ‘to tire‘ or ‘to become weary‘ and appears as early as 1820.  Although Idiomation was unable to find any earlier published references to the expression, that  it appears in a book published in 1845 certainly supports the claim that the expression “tuckered out” was used as early as 1820.

Posted in Idioms from the 19th Century | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Boxing Day

Posted by Admin on January 7, 2011

Boxing Day — the day after Christmas Day — is a holiday celebrated in Britain, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, and other Commonwealth countries.

On December 23, 1895 in the Southland News Notes of the Otaga Witness newspaper, it was reported that:

With regard to the formation of a rifle association for Southland, and the holding of a championship meeting in connection therewith, after discussion is was resolved — “That a rifle association be formed to be called the Southland Rifle Association.”  Correspondence with several country clubs having been read it was proposed — “That as of the 1st January  had been found an inconvenient date for country clubs, the first meeting of the association be held at Invercargill on Boxing Day, December 26.”

Back on December 22, 1868 the Nelson Evening Mail ran advertisements on page 3 and in Column 1, Alfred Greenfield, Provincial Secretary of the Superintendent’s Office in Nelson (New Zealand) announced that:

The public offices will be closed on —
Friday, 25th instant, Christmas Day.
Saturday, 26th instant, Boxing Day.
Friday, 1st January, New-year’s Day.

On December 30, 1845 in the Sydney Morning Herald, there was a brief article entitled  “Christmas And Boxing Day.”   It stated:

A by no means bad test of the manner in which Christmas Day was passed throughout the town and district was afforded by Friday’s Police Court presenting not a single case of drunkenness on the free list, or indeed any other charges.

It continued by stating later in the same article:

Saturday’s police list exhibited the same gratifying report of Boxing Day as that day’s list did of Christmas Day.  Not a single free case of drunkenness, and only three charges for such offence on the bond list, all ticket holders, and who were discharged, one of them stating by the way that he had taken “a spell” from drink for five years until the previous day; the bend advised him to go and take another spell for another five years.

That the day after Christmas should be referred to as Boxing Day attests to the fact that the term was understood to mean the day after Christmas and was not in question.

It is said that Boxing Day originated in England under Queen Victoria’s reign and since the phrase cannot be found in publications in reference to the day after Christmas prior to her reign, it is likely to be an accurate representation of when the day after Christmas became known as Boxing Day.

Historians, however, are still at odds as to why the day after Christmas is referred to as Boxing Day.

Posted in Idioms from the 19th Century | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Fait Accompli

Posted by Admin on September 20, 2010

A “fait accompli” is an irreversible action that has happened before those affected by it know of its existence and even once the change is found out, the change cannot be undone.  In other words, it’s a done deal. 

One might think that the expression “fait accomplijumped from France to England centuries ago during one of the many royal marriages or battles but it would seem that the jump had nothing to do with France at all.

In “The History of Lloyd’s and of Marine Insurance in Great Britain” by Frederick Martin, author of the “Statesman’s Yearbook” and published in 1876, the following passage is found on page 120:

This notice is continued till October 2, 1770, after which it appears slightly varied.  Instead of “have been so kind to promise to continue the Ship News,” the alteration, which evidently refers to a fait accompli, appearing for the first time on the 5th of October, 1770.

But 31 years earlier, in 1845, Richard Ford published “A Handbook For Travellers in Spain” which, to this day, is considered to be a classic of travel writing. Ford wrote:  “This is now a fait accompli.”

The use of the phrase “fait accompli” in its current sense was used in this way in French as far back as 1222.  The Société d’histoire de la Suisse Romande has in its possession a document that states:

Le partage de ses seigneuries entre ses fils laïques, fait par Ebal (IV) de Grandson, était ainsi un fait accompli dans l’année 1222, du moins quant à ses deux fils aînés, puisque nous venons de voir Henri, sire de Champbent, prêter présence lors de l’hommage de Richard de Belmont.

Translated this reads:

The division of his seigniories by Ebal (IV) of Grandson between his sons, was thus a fait accompli in the year 1222, at least with regards to his two oldest sons, as observed by Henri, Lord de Champbent lending his presence to pay homage to Richard de Belmont.

Posted in Idioms from the 13th Century, Idioms from the 19th Century | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »