A Dictionary of Catch Phrases: British and American, from the Sixteenth Century to the Present Day

By Paul Beale; Eric Partridge | Go to book overview

E

'e.

For 'e don't know where 'e lives see doesn't know…, and for 'e never 'ad no mother see he never…


'e be arf (or 'alf) sharp, 'e be.

'Dialect, e.g. Sussex dialect, or mock dialect, said of one who lacks understanding of his, or the, circumstances' (L.A., 1977). Elliptical for…only 'arf sharp: C20; but as a c.p., prob. not earlier than c. 1930 and apparently ob, by c. 1970.


'e dunno where 'e are!

was a c.p., predominantly Cockney, of the 1890s; it was applied to a half-wit or, at best, a moron or, rather, to someone acting in such a way; and esp. to one who has lost his sense of reality. Julian Franklyn, who knew so much of and about the music-halls, once told me that this c.p. arose in a music-hall song: 'Since Jack Jones come into a 'arf a'nounce o' snuff, 'e dunno where 'e are. 'E's got the cheek and impudence to call 'ee's muvver Ma.' The song was sung by Gus Elen (1863-1940) during the Edwardian period. (See, e.g. Ronald Pearsall, Edwardian Popular Music, 1975.) Shaw, 1969, adduces a var. she dunno where she are, and thinks that this was a joke from Punch. Cf doesn't know…, para. 3.


'e's lovely, Mrs Hoskins, 'e's lovely!

'From Ted Ray and Kitty Bluett in radio comedy series “Ray's a Laugh” late 1940s and 1950s' (Noble, 1975). Uttered in a Northern-accented, high-pitched voice, and always à propos 'Young Doctor 'Ardcastle' (P.B.). Cf ee, it was agony, Ivy!


eagle.

See: golden.


ear(s).

See: can you do; cloth-ears; eyes and ears; get your ears; I didn't ask; I got ears; let's play it; my ears; pull in; pull your ear; shake your; speak a little; that'll pin; Walls; will she; word in your.


early.

See: first term; vote early.


earn.

See: you have to spend.


earwig! earwig!

(often shortened to earwig!). 'Be quiet-there's someone listening': Brit, underworld: c. 1830-1914 and perhaps later. It occurs in the invaluable Sessions Papers (which, incidentally, I was the first scholar to examine linguistically and systematically), 10 Apr. 1849, thus: 'He said “earwig, earwig”…they were then silent.' A pun both on the lit. sense of earwig and on ear; cf the US underworld pun in (Lake) Erie, 'eary'.


Easter.

See: doesn't know.


easterly direction.

See: advancing.


easy.

See: go easy; make it e.; she rapes; shit me; there must be.


easy as shaking drops off your John (, it's as).

It's dead easy: essentially masculine: since c. 1945-if not ten, twenty, thirty years earlier. (John=John Thomas, now a rather outmoded euph.)


easy as you know how

or, in full, it's as easy…. It is simplicity itself-if you know how; in the RAF slang of WW2, 'It's a piece of cake'. It orig. either in 1940 or, at the latest, in early 1941; by 1950, slightly ob., and by 1970, virtually †. (Granville, 1968.)


easy does it!

Do it gently, take your time!: since c. 1840. Cf softly, softly


easy over the pimples or the stones!

Go more slowly! Be a bit more careful! R.S., 1977, explains the phrase thus: 'It was a witness at the June 1733 London Sessions who used pimple stones for the pebbles found on a very drunken sea-cook who came ashore to shoot up the streets of London with a pistol, just for the hell of it. Having just been engaged in shovelling ballast on board, he filled his pockets with pimple stones to save money on lead shot'. Which would put the phrase to the earlyish 1730s and presuppose a long subterranean life, as prob. many more such phrases have had, and enjoyed, far beyond the printed records-cf I'll have your guts for garters.


eat.

See: don't do anything you; don't wear; formerly; go and eat; he hath eaten; hokey-pokey; I can't believe; I could eat; I'll eat; I'll go out; I've done; I've eaten; it must have been; never shit; only eating; she looks; they're eating; we won't; what's eating; who ate; you are sick; you look; and:


eat more fruit!

was a c.p. of c. 1926-34. (Collinson.) From the famous trade slogan.


eat one! and eat shit!

'You're crazy-go away and bother someone else': US schoolboys': very approx. late 1940s-1960s (A.B., 1978.)


eat up: you're at your auntie's

is a Scottish c.p. invitation to 'eat hearty': late C19-20. (Mrs M.C. Thomson of Bray-on-Thames, 1975.) Aunts being notably generous to their nephews and nieces. Cf dig in….


eat your din-din.

Uttered in imitation of Bette Davis, a line she says to Joan Crawford in the film What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?, 1962. 'Nasty', comments Ashley, 1979.


eat your heart out (, fella)!

'Doesn't that make you jealous or envious?: since mid-1960s; but, even by 1978, neither very widespread nor gen. in UK, whither it migrated from US. Neil Lovett notes, 1978, that in Aus. it has been current, without fella, since c. 1965, to mean 'Grow thin, fall ill, with envy or worry or grief, and see if I care'; the phrase was prob. popularised in Aus. by the TV programme 'Laugh-In', of American origin. 'But, I note in Sep. 1978, it has gained ground in Brit.: in Bryan Forbes's International Velvet, 1978, I find it employed allusively: 'He took the manuscript [a story written by a schoolgirl] from her… “Harold Robbins, eat your heart out!”' (H.R. being, of course, one of the world's half-dozen best-selling novelists during the middle and late 1970s).


eaten the rump.

See: he hath eaten the rump.


'eave 'arf a brick at 'im!

Current from the mid-1850s to 1914, and still quoted in later C20, this phrase reflects the prejudiced, illiterate British lower-class attitude towards foreigners. It was inspired by a Leech cartoon in Punch, 25 Feb. 1854, p. 82, showing two miners regarding a gentleman,

-79-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this book

This book has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this book

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
A Dictionary of Catch Phrases: British and American, from the Sixteenth Century to the Present Day
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Preface to the First Edition ix
  • Introduction to the First Edition x
  • Modifications of the Original Introduction xii
  • Acknowledgments to the First Edition xiv
  • Preface to the Second Edition xvi
  • Acknowledgments to the Second Edition xix
  • Abbreviations xxi
  • A 1
  • B 25
  • C 42
  • D 60
  • E 79
  • F 85
  • G 96
  • H 114
  • I 136
  • J 178
  • K 181
  • L 186
  • M 200
  • N 212
  • O 228
  • P 240
  • Q 251
  • R 253
  • S 261
  • T 289
  • U 323
  • V 326
  • W 328
  • X 360
  • Y 361
  • Z 384
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen
/ 389

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.