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Murphy, Thomas H. (ed.) / Wisconsin alumnus
Volume 86, Number 4 (May 1985)

Take a DARE,   pp. 12-13

Page 13

   bull grinder-a little toy that's used for
nothing but to pass the time. Any info on
place and time of this phrase? Is/was it a
specific toy?
   cabbage candy-said to be a coconut
candy bar, very hard on the teeth; why
   catish-(accent on second syllable). In
some parts of Wisconsin, Indiana and
Illinois, it means elegant, attractive. Is it
used elsewhere? Any idea of its origin?
   checkered suit-used by Marn Sandoz
in one of her novels of the Southwest:
"Angry knots of men ...talked of check-
ered suits and rope." It doesn't sound like
a literary original. Anyone know the deri-
vation and meaning?
   cob fence--What is it?
   colored chicken-from California in
the '40s. Can anyone describe this food?
   crazy bingo-What are the rules that
make it "crazy"? In what states is it
   cranberry house--A farm building,
but the impression is it's more special than
a place to store cranberries. Anyone famil-
iar with it?
   cunnell yeast-What kind is that, and
what is the etymology?
   dog knife-Still current? What does
one look like?
   duck-on-Davy--a children's game,
same as duck-on-a-rock. But why Davy?
   feather party--One was held by an
Eagles Auxilliary in Ohio last November.
What goes on? What feathers are used and
   fog-a joking term for bakery bread, at
least in Maine. Is it used anywhere else?
How do you explain it?
   grousted--said of a cloth that's too
dirty to be serviceable. Is the term used
anywhere but eastern Tennessee?
   hail storm or hailstone-an alcoholic
drink, out of the South in the 1800s. Is the
term still in use? Anyone have a recipe?
(For lexicographical purposes only, of
   half sled-meaning unmanageable,
wild. Can anyone describe a half sled and
explain the simile?
   hazel splitter-c. 1910, meaning a girl
with a bad reputation. Has anyone ever
heard of this? Any information on its
   jabib (possibly capitalized)-suggests
remoteness, the boonies. What does it
mean, and how is it pronounced?
   Jasper--as in The Music Man's song
lyric, "some big out-of-town Jasper." But
why "Jasper"?
   kankee (or cankee)-a children's tree
house or club house, heard around Syra-
cuse, N.Y. in the 1940s. Can anyone
confirm that and/or give other uses or
other areas? Sources of that word?
   ladies in the carriage-from the game
of jacks. What does the player do? What
are the carriage and the ladies?
   lane cake--layer cake with brandy-
butter and chopped pecans. Known in the
South, but anywhere else? And why
   opsot-in some states, that's the end of
 a loaf of bread, the heel. Are there other
   pasmelar---a lollipop in Richmond,
Va., in the '20s. Used anywhere else? Cur-
rently? Any info on the derivation?
   pudding stick-meaning a young
friend of the bride, responsible for food at
the reception. Known in central Massa-
chusetts, but anywhere else? And the
   pure O.D.--said as "that's pure O.D.
nonsense." What does the O.D. mean,
and where is the term used?
   rank(the car)-in New Jersey in the
'20s, that meant to park it. Is it still in use
there or anywhere else?
   thank-you-ma'am--a dip in the road
which makes passengers in vehicles sud-
denly bow forward. In old Wisconsin it
was also called a belly sinker. Around
exotic Baraboo today, it's a kiss-me-
quick. Do you know other terms for this?
Other places?
   the whole nine yards---currently popu-
lar, but what's the derivation? (Football,
you say? But why nine specifically?)
   tipped and shivered--all dressed up, at
least along the mid-Atlantic coast at one
time. But from whence this metaphor?
What was literally "tipped" and "shiv-
   As you can see, the DARE dictionary
is unlike any other in that it isn't necessar-
ily out to define a word or phrase. (If you
rank a car, you park it in rank with
others-anyone can figure that out.) What
DARE will tell the world is where these
colorful aspects of our language got
started, how they were used then, if and
how they're used now, and where; "to
document the patterns of regional diversity
in American English," as the brochure
puts it. Happy regionalizing.     El
Illustrations / Bill Feeny
MAY/JUNE 1985 / 13
feather partv!

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