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Terms Which Have Disappeared

tonyb

I'll Lock Up
Messages
9,733
Location
My mother's basement
“For the birds,” meaning of little practical value or credibility.

I’ve read that the phrase originated with U.S. servicemen during WWII, in reference to certain birds who pecked for seeds and such in horse droppings.

As with most such etymologies, I take it with a grain of salt, wouldn’t take it to the bank, wouldn’t bet the farm on it, etc. But I have no good reason to doubt it, either.
 
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tonyb

I'll Lock Up
Messages
9,733
Location
My mother's basement
“Bubbles in his blood,” which means about the same thing as “ants in his pants,” which was/is as often as not abbreviated to “antsy,” meaning nervous, anxious, transparently ill at ease.
 

Todd Harrington

New in Town
Messages
15
Some years ago, I was painting a ceiling in my Grandmother's house with a roller brush. It was spitting paint so I wrapped an old t-shirt around my head. My grandmother came in to inspect my work and exclaimed; "Why you look like an ol' Sheik of Arabee"

My Grandmother was born in March of 1912 and lived to be 102.

Todd H
Winchester, VA
 

tonyb

I'll Lock Up
Messages
9,733
Location
My mother's basement
Some years ago, I was painting a ceiling in my Grandmother's house with a roller brush. It was spitting paint so I wrapped an old t-shirt around my head. My grandmother came in to inspect my work and exclaimed; "Why you look like an ol' Sheik of Arabee"

My Grandmother was born in March of 1912 and lived to be 102.

Todd H
Winchester, VA

“Sheik of Araby” is a Tin Pan Alley hit dating from 1921 which became a standard. More recently, in the 1950s, Louis Prima’s take on it, a medley with “When You’re Smiling,” gained some popularity.

I’m confident you’ve heard the melody, and it’s all but certain your grandmother did.
 

LizzieMaine

Bartender
Messages
30,760
Location
Where The Tourists Meet The Sea
Inspired by the popularity of Rudolph Valentino in his film role as "The Shiek." The term also immediately became inescapable 1920s slang for a suave, romantic loverboy, and was also applied with much sarcasm to the sort of man who was, shall we say, overconfident when it came to the matter of his personal sex appeal.

The female equivlaent of a "shiek" was a "sheba," as in the Queen Of.
 

tonyb

I'll Lock Up
Messages
9,733
Location
My mother's basement
“Run ragged,” which I said to a Ukrainian woman (who speaks four languages, English among them), who was telling of her hectic day. She looked a little mystified, so another native-born American and I explained the colloquialism.

And then we riffed on …

“Rode hard and put away wet,” which has a similar meaning. It originated as a reference to riding a horse to exhaustion and then stabling it covered in sweat without a proper cooling off period. It came to mean overworked and under-appreciated.

That other native-born American said she’d more often heard it used derogatorily in reference to women who allowed themselves to be treated less than respectfully by the men in their lives. These days we might call it “slut shaming.”
 
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