Re: Success! (Re: Good slang/idiom dictionary?)

Subject: Re: Success! (Re: Good slang/idiom dictionary?)
From: lsims <lsims -at- DSET -dot- COM>
Date: Wed, 30 Jun 1999 16:54:11 -0400

At 02:46 PM 6/30/99 -0400, Rebecca Merck wrote:
>A thousand thanks to Ann Howell, who found the following information on
>"neck of the woods":
>Q. I'm curious as to how one's locality became associated with a neck of the
>woods. Does the neck in this phrase indicate a specific geographical
>condition, or has it always just meant a non-specific locality? And if the
>first is true, how did we come to use the latter? Thanks for such a fun and
>well-run page, by the way.
>A. This is an American phrase which originally referred to a forest
>settlement. It appears in print as early as 1850. Exactly why a forest
>settlement was thought of as a neck is not clear, although it may be that
>such a settlement was considered an extension of another settlement. It is
>not difficult to see how the change from 'forest settlement' to 'particular
>region or neighborhood' occurred over time.

Well, we know that the "Pennsylvania Dutch" are called that because
English-speaking colonists thought the Germans were saying "Dutch", not
"Deutsch". Is there a word in a non-English language that sounds similar to
"neck" but means area, region, or neighborhood?

I'll be eager to see that list you mention--word and phrase origins have
always fascinated me, particularly since my family has one odd saying that
no one else has ever heard: "I should hope to kiss a pig", meaning either
(a) an EXTREMELY sarcastic version of "No, really?" or (b) "Not only do I
agree with what you've said, but any person with a lick of sense would,
too, and if they don't they're stupid." So far no one in the older
generations can explain its origin or why it has two wildly divergent meanings.


From ??? -at- ??? Sun Jan 00 00:00:00 0000=

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