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Origins: 'Skin the Cat' and other family sayings

02 Apr 08 - 02:23 PM (#2304685)
Subject: Origins: Skin the Cat & other sayings
From: Joe Offer

When we were taking off sweaters or t-shirts or other things that went over our heads, my grandmother would say "skin the cat" (which we often pronounced "skinny cat.")

Anybody else familiar with this phrase, or is it just something from my family?


Anybody else have family sayings they wonder about? Please tell us what region you were in when you learned the phrase.

-Joe-


02 Apr 08 - 02:28 PM (#2304689)
Subject: RE: Origins: Skin the Cat
From: Melissa

we "skinned the cat" as a dismount from hanging upside down on the monkeybar.


02 Apr 08 - 03:55 PM (#2304788)
Subject: RE: Origins: 'Skin the Cat' and other family sayings
From: GUEST,Val

"There's more than one way to skin a cat" was a phrase I often heard. (multiple solutions to any problem)


02 Apr 08 - 04:19 PM (#2304817)
Subject: RE: Origins: 'Skin the Cat' and other family sayin
From: Uncle_DaveO

There's more than one way to skin a cat--if you're into cat skinning.

Dave Oesterreich


02 Apr 08 - 04:23 PM (#2304820)
Subject: RE: Origins: 'Skin the Cat' and other family sayings
From: Liz the Squeak

My mother always said 'skin a rabbit' or 'skin a bunny' when she ripped our jumpers up over our ears... I didn't realise what it meant until I saw someone actually skinning a rabbit. The whole skin gets pulled off as if it were a jumper - leaving behind the red flesh, which is what our ears felt like when our heads were outgrowing the jumper at a greater rate than the stretch of the wool would allow.

LTS


02 Apr 08 - 04:24 PM (#2304822)
Subject: RE: Origins: 'Skin the Cat' and other family sayin
From: Sorcha

I heard all three usages (take off over your head, more than one way and 'turn inside out' from a horizontal bar...body thru the elbows) as a child, late '50's early '60's, in Winfield, Kansas.

I also heard it as 'not enough room to skin (or cuss) a cat without getting hair in your mouth.


02 Apr 08 - 04:26 PM (#2304824)
Subject: RE: Origins: 'Skin the Cat' and other family sayings
From: GUEST,Melissa

I've heard small spaces referred to as "not enough room to swing a dead cat""


02 Apr 08 - 04:38 PM (#2304839)
Subject: RE: Origins: 'Skin the Cat' and other family sayings
From: Amos

One I have never heard anywhere is "not enough room to kick the balls on a brass monkey". Anyone? ;>)


A


02 Apr 08 - 04:46 PM (#2304848)
Subject: RE: Origins: 'Skin the Cat' and other family sayin
From: joncst

i think not enough room to swing a cat is naval and is to do with room to use a cato-nine-tails below decks. guess dead got added as saying went from naval use into the vernacular. my wife (nottingham) always says skin a rabbit, when undressing kids, she thinks her family (also north notts) used it regularly.


02 Apr 08 - 04:48 PM (#2304850)
Subject: RE: Origins: 'Skin the Cat' and other family sayings
From: The Vulgar Boatman

No mystery about this, but one that may be worth sharing...
The Old Trip to Jerusalem in Nottingham is reputedly the oldest inn in the UK. During the days of variety theatre, it was one of the pubs of choice for artists. My daughter was visiting us (and my father in hospital), and said she'd like to go there, to which my mother commented "Well, you know what your Grandad used to say about the Trip" We didn't...
"You don't want to go there - it's full of whores and comic singers".
Oddly enough, it's still full of character to this day.
KYBTTS


02 Apr 08 - 04:53 PM (#2304856)
Subject: RE: Origins: 'Skin the Cat' and other family sayings
From: Liz the Squeak

Must have been their day off when I visited it then.. mind you, I did have a giant Yorkshire pudding served in what could only be described as a ceramic cloth cap....

LTS


02 Apr 08 - 04:55 PM (#2304858)
Subject: RE: Origins: 'Skin the Cat' and other family sayings
From: katlaughing

Yuk, I am glad to say I don't remember ever hearing ANY references of violence to cats when I was growing up!

"Couldn't hit the broadside of a barn" comes to mind, as well as "blind as a bat," and "colder than the dickens," which I am sure was an edited version as my mother would have "gone on the warpath" if dad had said the real version, colder than a well-digger's ass" in front of us kids.

I wonder does "dickens" refer to the oft-freezing characters in his novels?


02 Apr 08 - 07:32 PM (#2304995)
Subject: RE: Origins: 'Skin the Cat' and other family sayin
From: Sorcha

I think probably more of a euphmisim for 'devil' or 'hell' kat.

My dad said, colder than a well diggers wallet, or colder than a witches teat.


02 Apr 08 - 08:45 PM (#2305038)
Subject: RE: Origins: 'Skin the Cat' and other family sayings
From: Q (Frank Staplin)

"More than one way to skin a cat"- Seba Smith, 1854, in the book "'Way Down East, Portraitures of Yankee Life." More ways than one to get what you want. Found in English proverbs, John Rae's collection, 1678.

"To skin the cat" is a gymnastic exercise; we had to do it in physical training- Hanging from a parallel bar, flip anr rotate the feet and body back between the arms. Perhaps this comes from skinning an animal, turning the skin inside out.

Found these at www.worldwidewords.org/qa/qa-mor1.htm

Couldn't find any quotes from John Rae in my Oxford English Dictionary, so outside of the Seba Smith quote, I can't give verification.


02 Apr 08 - 08:54 PM (#2305042)
Subject: RE: Origins: 'Skin the Cat' and other family sayings
From: GUEST,Chicken Charlie

Busier than a one-armed paper-hanger.

So poor they didn't have a pot to pee in or a window to throw it out of.


02 Apr 08 - 09:23 PM (#2305059)
Subject: RE: Origins: 'Skin the Cat' and other family sayin
From: Rowan

It was always "More than one way to skin a cat", and "Not enough room to swing a cat", without the "dead" qualifier, in Melbourne in the 50s.

And "Busier than a one-armed paper-hanger" was always "Busier than a one-armed paper-hanger with the crabs" then, too.

"Tighter than a fish's arse", "Colder than a witch's tit" were also common (in most senses of the word) and "Get a wriggle on" and "Time to unwrap your rung" both meant "Hurry up!"

Cheers, Rowan


02 Apr 08 - 09:47 PM (#2305076)
Subject: RE: Origins: 'Skin the Cat' and other family sayings
From: Q (Frank Staplin)

Some of these are found everywhere English is spoken- busier than ..., colder than a witch's tit, busier than a one-armed ...., so poor they didn't have a pot to piss in, broadside of a barn, blind as a bat, etc.

Time to unwrap your rung is new to me- What is the origin?


02 Apr 08 - 09:56 PM (#2305083)
Subject: RE: Origins: 'Skin the Cat' and other family sayings
From: Azizi

Although the subject is "family sayings", I want to note that with regard to the lyrics "Juba this and Juba that/ Juba skinned a yellow cat" in the dance song "Juba", professor/author Thomas W. Talley wrote that "skinning the cat" was a dance step.


02 Apr 08 - 10:09 PM (#2305092)
Subject: RE: Origins: 'Skin the Cat' and other family sayings
From: Louie Roy

Busier than a cat covering shit on a tin roof And when you were admitting you were wrong and the other person was right Your Ass is the blackest


02 Apr 08 - 10:26 PM (#2305100)
Subject: RE: Origins: 'Skin the Cat' and other family sayin
From: GUEST,.gargoyle

Dearest...AZISI -

"Skinning the Cat" is also a term applied to duo and single gymnastics...and a multiple of school-yard-games dating back to at least 1900 and without reference...probably before.

However, it is my understanding, the SUBJECT of this thread is "Other Family Sayings" and Origins.

Return to back of the class.

Sincerely,
Gargoyle


02 Apr 08 - 10:43 PM (#2305113)
Subject: RE: Origins: 'Skin the Cat' and other family sayings
From: Louie Roy

A couple of others It's raining like a cow pissing ona flat rock and the old cars we ad to drive they were so rough the'd shake the balls off of a brass monkey


02 Apr 08 - 11:39 PM (#2305139)
Subject: RE: Origins: 'Skin the Cat' and other family sayin
From: Rowan

Q:
"Unwrap your rung!" meaning "Hurry up!" or "Get a move on!" I first heard as a phrase used by a family friend (Eileen Vaughan, née Cattanach and the mother of my first serious girlfriend) in Heidelberg (Melbourne) in the 50s. Eileen (now deceased) was brought up in the alpine parts of the NSW southern highlands in the 20s and 30s, so probably learned the saying in that context.

It was also used by Lorna Rosser (my first mother-in-law, who was a bit younger) in Moorooduc (Mornington Peninsula, south of Frankston, Victoria) in the 60s and 70s. Lorna was brought up (as I recall; we don't get on well) in Melbourne.

I can't give any earlier info on the saying, and I recall it being used by others, subsequently.

Cheers, Rowan


03 Apr 08 - 12:58 AM (#2305163)
Subject: RE: Origins: 'Skin the Cat' and other family sayin
From: Seamus Kennedy

Something worthless according to my father was 'not worth the full of your arse of roasted snow.'

Someone ungainly was 'as awkward as a pig going to hoke.'

Seamus


03 Apr 08 - 06:56 AM (#2305304)
Subject: RE: Origins: 'Skin the Cat' and other family sayings
From: Big Mick

When he thougbt something was neat, an old buddy of mine used to say, "Well now, thats jest slicker'n hot chicken fat on a stuck doorknob".

I am not sure where it came from, but when asked how I'm doing, I usually reply that I am "just as fine as frog's hair". Think about it.

Mick


03 Apr 08 - 09:05 AM (#2305405)
Subject: RE: Origins: 'Skin the Cat' and other family sayin
From: Newport Boy

I think I've posted this before, but repetition never did any harm.

My father-in-law always said of any action that was ineffective:

"As much use as shouting 'shit' up a dark alley."

This came from Newport (S Wales) early 1920's.

Phil


03 Apr 08 - 10:40 AM (#2305479)
Subject: RE: Origins: 'Skin the Cat' and other family sayings
From: Louie Roy

What boggles my mind is why we have a BS thread in the musical section


03 Apr 08 - 11:17 AM (#2305502)
Subject: RE: Origins: 'Skin the Cat' and other family sayin
From: Flash Company

We were always told 'There are more ways to kill a cat than choking it with butter!'
Anyone reckoned to be mean was 'Tighter than a duck's arse (and that's watertight!)
Complain that you had nowhere to sit and risk being told 'Stick your thumb in your bum and sit on your elbow!'
A frosty morning was 'Cold enough for a walking stick!'
And one farm labourer I knew would raise his 'lid of tea' and say:-
Here's to health, wealth and Freedom,
Them as never drinks tea, Buggerem, ne'er heed 'em!

FC


03 Apr 08 - 01:03 PM (#2305599)
Subject: RE: Origins: 'Skin the Cat' and other family sayings
From: Q (Frank Staplin)

More of a universal saying, but "crossing the pond," i. e., the Atlantic, has been around a long time. The OED has a quote from 1641 from a passenger, speaking of "taking flight across the great pond."


03 Apr 08 - 04:32 PM (#2305805)
Subject: RE: Origins: 'Skin the Cat' and other family sayings
From: Marje

"Skin a rabbit!" was what my Mum (Scottish, 1950s) used to say when pulling a jumper etc over my head. I think it unlikely she'd ever skinned a rabbit herself but had proabably seen it done.

Marje


03 Apr 08 - 06:31 PM (#2305912)
Subject: RE: Origins: 'Skin the Cat' and other family sayings
From: GUEST,Chicken Charlie

When someone he didn't admire got something right, my grandfather would say, "Even a blind sow can stumble across an acorn once in a while."

And his version of recommending that a spade be called a spade was, "If a cat had kittens in the oven, would you call them biscuits?"

The blind sow I have heard elsewhere; the kittens thing I have not.

CC


03 Apr 08 - 06:38 PM (#2305922)
Subject: RE: Origins: 'Skin the Cat' and other family sayings
From: Melissa

I've heard the 'kittens in the oven' one before and now that you've reminded me, I hope I start saying it!


03 Apr 08 - 07:12 PM (#2305953)
Subject: RE: Origins: 'Skin the Cat' and other family sayin
From: Rowan

The only way to remove a jumper is by pulling it over your head so I assume "skin the rabbit" applies when you pull it by the waistband and turn the jumper inside out while doing so rather than just pulling it off by the neck.

Another family saying, when working hard at something, "going full tilt at it" is (in my family) "flat out like a lizard drinking!"

Cheers, Rowan


03 Apr 08 - 07:29 PM (#2305976)
Subject: RE: Origins: 'Skin the Cat' and other family sayings
From: GUEST,TJ in San Diego

Growing up on a San Joaquin Valley ranch in California, I heard a lot of expressions out of Dust Bowl transplants from Texas, Arkansas, Oklahoma, etc. You know; the sort that threatens to "lay one upside yore head." They favored a sort of deadpan, ironic humor with expressions like "lower than a snake's belly in a wagon track" or "don't that take the rag off the bush, though." The latter came from the days before roads, when people marked the way for followers by leaving a bit of cloth tied to a bush or tree limb. If someone took the "rag off the bush," people could die. My personal favorite was from an old west Texas field hand who, when asked a direct question, would respond with things such as, "weeelll, jes like the fly - I speck so." Last, I only recall "more than one way to skin a cat" as a response to someone trying to solve a problem.


04 Apr 08 - 02:32 AM (#2306168)
Subject: RE: Origins: 'Skin the Cat' and other family sayings
From: JennieG

Louie Roy - it's not music but it is folklore.

I have a wonderful book called "Lily on the dustbin" by Nancy Keesing, and it is what she called 'familyspeak' - the sayings that get handed on within families, as distinct from sayings in a workplace or social situation. While I can't lay my hand on it right now I think it was published about 20 years ago. Before it was published I heard Nancy interviewed on talk-back radio, and some of the sayings that callers had when they rang up were priceless.

I like 'as flash as a rat with a gold tooth'.

If my brothers or I asked my mother where something was, we were told 'it's up in Annie's room behind the clock'.

Cheers
JennieG


04 Apr 08 - 06:26 PM (#2306792)
Subject: RE: Origins: 'Skin the Cat' and other family sayings
From: GUEST,Ukraine Guest

In Steaven King's "Gerald's Game" I found two expressions:
1. skinning the cat on the monkey-bar
2. to skin the cat over the (bed) headboard would do more than break her wrists.
From the context it's clear enough that it's about some movement similar to a somersault...


04 Apr 08 - 08:41 PM (#2306969)
Subject: RE: Origins: 'Skin the Cat' and other family sayin
From: Rowan

as flash as a rat with a gold tooth

One of my favourites, JennieG!

Which reminded me of "as cunning as a dunny rat"

Cheers, Rowan


05 Apr 08 - 04:31 AM (#2307204)
Subject: RE: Origins: 'Skin the Cat' and other family sayin
From: Escapee

What are you doing? " Sewing buttons on ice cream. "
Or "Holler" for shout. Maybe from Southern Ohio.
Where's So-and So? " He just went by in a rowboat." Another possible
Southern Ohioism. At least I heard it from a Southern Ohioan.
SKP


05 Apr 08 - 06:17 AM (#2307254)
Subject: RE: Origins: 'Skin the Cat' and other family sayings
From: Mo the caller

My mother said "skin a rabit", I think refering to pulling a jumper off someone else (a child), and when you are having a jumper removed your arms are above your head like rabits ears. We were in London.

One that may be exclusive to us "mind the boggles!" ....the mind boggles. And in my husbands family "bring presents have us to?"... originally said on reading an invitation that said "your presence is required", now any time the word is mentioned.


05 Apr 08 - 10:31 AM (#2307416)
Subject: RE: Origins: 'Skin the Cat' and other family sayin
From: Flash Company

Arthur Askey had a song called 'Up in Annie's Room',including.....

'That's where Nelson lost his eye,
Up in Annie's Room'

FC


06 Apr 08 - 01:00 AM (#2307985)
Subject: RE: Origins: 'Skin the Cat' and other family sayings
From: GUEST,Chicken Charlie

These just keep bubbling up from some sub-basement of the mind --

Now it's the one where somebody is being a pain and you want them to go away and do something that will take up a lot of their time, so you tell them, "Go pound sand down a rat-hole," or "Go teach your granny to pound sand down a rat-hole." Often abbreviated to just "Oh, go pound sand."

Don't know if this was a common saying or just one person's eccentric invention. My Dad had a boss who, when some project was finished, said everything was "Lashed up, lined out and whoop-tee-doo." Maybe the first part originated with a load being put on a wagon or truck (lashed up) and all the items called for in a shipment checked off on a packing list--'lined out.'

I also heard, growing up in a racially mixed neighborhood, a word Black people used as an equivalent to "cool." It was "reet." That was late 1940's, early 1950's--actually I don't think we were even saying "cool" yet. Never heard it since. Anybody else? "Man, those new shoes are really reet!" Hmmm.

CC


06 Apr 08 - 02:55 AM (#2308026)
Subject: RE: Origins: 'Skin the Cat' and other family sayin
From: Genie

My maternal great aunt was a trove of old "Arkansas witticisms." E.g.,

"He was as nervous as a fart in a frying pan."

"He'd eat a mile of his sh_t to get to kiss his _ss."

He was as nervous as a long-tailed cat in a room full of rockers."

He was so poor he didn't have a pot to p_ss in."


06 Apr 08 - 02:59 AM (#2308028)
Subject: RE: Origins: 'Skin the Cat' and other family sayin
From: Genie

Jim Hightower says, "There's nothing in the middle of the road but yellow stripes and dead armadilloes."

He also says "Sometimes you've got to swim upstream. Even a dead carp can go with the flow."

But some things are "as rare as hen's teeth."

Why do we say "Fit as a fiddle?" How fit are fiddles, after all?


06 Apr 08 - 03:03 AM (#2308029)
Subject: RE: Origins: 'Skin the Cat' and other family sayin
From: Genie

Come to think of it, why do we (or why did Hubert Humphrey) say something is "right as rain?" How right is rain, anyway?

G


06 Apr 08 - 09:41 AM (#2308207)
Subject: RE: Origins: 'Skin the Cat' and other family sayin
From: Waddon Pete

Some great family sayings here! In our family things mislaid were always, "Up in Nanny's room behind the clock!" I mind the time when I visited my Nan and, while she was busy doing something, nipped up to her bedroom and actually looked behind her clock! Nothing there, of course...but a mite disappointing!

Then there was Dad's saying, "Thank your mother for the rabbits!" on saying goodbye to a guest at the front door.

Although fairly well known, I like two Australian comments that my friends there use..."Flat out like a lizard drinking" when working hard and, "On the wallaby" when you take your motor home and disappear for a few days!

Best wishes,

Peter


06 Apr 08 - 10:33 AM (#2308231)
Subject: RE: Origins: 'Skin the Cat' and other family sayin
From: Flash Company

Genie... So poor he didn't have a pot to piss in was in use on our side of the Atlantic too, my old Gran used to say it.
Also, of someone nervous, ' He's jumping about like a fart in a bottle!'which is fairly close to your version.
This next is not exactly a family saying, but a tale often told. Dad was at a wedding, and trying, as only an awkward adult can, to make conversation with a small boy:-
Dad... And what is your name, young man?
Small Boy..... They call me Waspberry Arse!

There is really nowhere to go after an exchange like that!

FC


06 Apr 08 - 02:29 PM (#2308422)
Subject: RE: Origins: 'Skin the Cat' and other family sayin
From: Gulliver

I heard the nick-name Skin-the-goat used around Dublin (probably named after Skin-the-goat Fitzharris of Invincibles' fame).

When we kids looked for something it was always "Up in Nelly's room!"
And where was Nelly's room? "At the back of the Pipes" (that's at the back of Guinness's brewery)

If we were restless, my granny (from Dundalk) would tell us to "stop foosterin'--you're like a hen on a hot griddle!"

A bad-looking woman had "a face like an accident on its way to a crash", or "a plateful of mortal sins".

A smart or devious person was "cute as a shithouse rat".

Don


06 Apr 08 - 06:58 PM (#2308586)
Subject: RE: Origins: 'Skin the Cat' and other family sayin
From: Rowan

More sayings from the Melbourne of my youth.

"Like shit off a shovel" was a description of someone moving fast, both literally and metaphorically.

"What's that?" often elicited the response "A wigwam for a goose's bridle."

"He's jumping about like a fart in a bottle!" I became aware of much later, in the 60s.

"More moves than a barrel of monkees" was a synonym for "roving hands" that I came across when I started taking an interest in girls; both were used of particular blokes by girls.

Genie's "as rare as hen's teeth" and "Fit as a fiddle" were also common, although the former was usually "Scarce as hens' teeth" and "Fit as a trout" was also common.

["Hens' Teeth" was the name of the first all-women rock group in Oz, and it was closely followed by "The Ovarian Sisters"]

Cheers, Rowan


07 Apr 08 - 12:06 AM (#2308750)
Subject: RE: Origins: 'Skin the Cat' and other family sayings
From: Gurney

One of my dad's many terms was "Out padgehowling", which meant out of doors at night for no good reason, or out drinking, or looking for trouble.

I think he made it up. We once had a cat named Patch(Padge) who was a vocal defender of 'his' territory.


07 Apr 08 - 12:29 AM (#2308756)
Subject: RE: Origins: 'Skin the Cat' and other family sayings
From: Bert

Hey Flash, I heard it as "There's more ways to kill a cat than drowning it in milk". I guess that both predate the skinnning a cat version.


07 Apr 08 - 12:45 AM (#2308764)
Subject: RE: Origins: 'Skin the Cat' and other family sayin
From: Seamus Kennedy

Another of my father's was: He didn't have a pot to piss in, or a window to throw it out of."

If something or someone was not close, they 'were not within a beagle's gowl."

A rude, stupid person was "as ignorant as a cartload of Millfield arseholes". (Millfield was an area of Belfast).

If a person was loud or a bigmouth, he "has a quare gub for hidin' champ". (Champ - mashed potatoes and scallions). Or 'I wish I had his gub full of threepenny bits".

Seamus


07 Apr 08 - 01:04 AM (#2308768)
Subject: RE: Origins: 'Skin the Cat' and other family sayings
From: Bert

Hi Seamus,

My Grandma used to say "Daft as Arseholes and twice as nasty".

And if a guy was really stupid he "Wouldn't know his dick from his thumb if it didn't have a nail on it"


07 Apr 08 - 09:56 AM (#2309039)
Subject: RE: Origins: 'Skin the Cat' and other family sayin
From: Flash Company

Bert... We had 'Thick as pig-shit and twice as nasty!'
Another one which just sprang to mind for any story which was a bit far fetched, 'I'ts all my hind leg and Betty Martin!'

FC


07 Apr 08 - 10:09 AM (#2309048)
Subject: RE: Origins: 'Skin the Cat' and other family sayin
From: Gulliver

In our gang it was "as thick as a bible".

Our mother was forever saying she might as well be "talking to the wall" as trying to get us to do anything, and if she was going out she was "going away with a sailor". The trouble is, a lot of the time we believed she was going to do this!

Another saying was "Ten o'clock (or whatever the time was) and not a child in the house washed--and the streets full of sailors!"

Don


07 Apr 08 - 11:50 AM (#2309136)
Subject: RE: Origins: 'Skin the Cat' and other family sayin
From: Seamus Kennedy

Hi Bert! Grandmas had some beauties, didn't they?

One of my Granny's (in reference to woman who hadn't been seen in the neighborhood for a day or so) "She's away with a Kiltie."
A Kiltie was a piper or a drummer in a pipe band.

I'm gonna be out your way June 13 and 14.

Seamus


07 Apr 08 - 01:27 PM (#2309245)
Subject: RE: Origins: 'Skin the Cat' and other family sayings
From: SouthernCelt

I think the term "reet" originated from the "zoot suit" generation/fad. I've never seen an explanation of how the oddly-fitting "zoot suit" go its name but it almost seems to have been one of those things where someone didn't know how to name it so he just came up with a catchy rhyme. Of course men's clothing in those days all had pleats in various places to help shape them so a really "cool" outfit would be a "zoot suit with a reet pleat". Now before anyone assumes I'm so old that I was part of that fad, let me hasten to add that all I know and speculate on here came from old cartoons and shows on tv.

An old phrase I heard so much as a kid went "He thought like Lit" meaning someone thought one thing but was proven wrong. When I finally got so curious that I couldn't stand not knowing who/what "Lit" was and asked, I was told that Lit was some fellow who "thought he farted but he shit." So Lit was just a rhyme for shit. Once the entire saying was known, adults could use the first part in front of kids w/o having to say a word that they'd rather the kids not start using.

SC


07 Apr 08 - 01:40 PM (#2309262)
Subject: RE: Origins: 'Skin the Cat' and other family sayings
From: GUEST,HiLo

Some that I recall from youth and often still use..I got what Paddy shot at..meaning nothing. Cold as a well diggers arse. He's all boat n no fish, meaning a braggart. They live on the smell of an oil rag, meaning they are poor. I must have a Dot Myra, meaning to wash yer face. He's lazy as Larrys' dog, he lays down to bark.


07 Apr 08 - 06:03 PM (#2309494)
Subject: RE: Origins: 'Skin the Cat' and other family sayin
From: Rowan

In our gang it was "as thick as a bible"

And around my family it was "as thick as two short planks"; I could never work out why it was the short planks might be thick. And I do remember friends having to live "on the smell of an oily rag".

Cheers, Rowan


07 Apr 08 - 06:30 PM (#2309518)
Subject: RE: Origins: 'Skin the Cat' and other family sayings
From: George Henderson

Cold enough to freeze the balls off a brass monkey.

This came from a nautical source. the brass monkey was a triangle at the front of a gun boat on which the iron cannon balls were mounted. In very cold weather the brass would contract more than the iron balls which would then roll off the brass frame.

I suppose shaking the balls off a brass monkey came from the same source.

Hair of the dog that bit you.

This comes from the days when rabid dogs were very plentiful. If bitten it was suggested that if you get a hair from the dog and place it across the broken skin there was a good chance that you would avoid getting rabies. I suppose the antibodies in the hair would give some sort of protection.


07 Apr 08 - 07:20 PM (#2309581)
Subject: RE: Origins: 'Skin the Cat' and other family sayings
From: GUEST,TJ in San Diego

Sometimes, an expression can be a nice rhetorical "up yours!"
I was helping host a wine tasting of vintage ports some years ago in a local restaurant. One of my suppliers, James Symington, was taking audience questions, some of which were fairly inane. One doctor raised his hand and asked, "How long can you age a vintage port?" Mr. Symington's reply: "Isn't that rather like asking, 'how long is a piece of string?'"

For those unfamiliar with wines, he was really saying that if you don't know the vintage, the producer and the shipper, how can you possibly know how long to keep it? Ergo, dumb question.


07 Apr 08 - 07:32 PM (#2309596)
Subject: RE: Origins: 'Skin the Cat' and other family sayings
From: Bonecruncher

"Running around like a fart in a colander - not knowing which hole to pop out of first" was a saying in my family.
Colyn.


07 Apr 08 - 07:49 PM (#2309612)
Subject: RE: Origins: 'Skin the Cat' and other family sayings
From: SouthernCelt

"Running around like a fart in a colander - not knowing which hole to pop out of first" was a saying in my family.
Colyn.


I suppose that means confused. Our saying was a little more acceptable to most people: "Running around like a chicken with its head cut off" meaning frantically confused, panicking.


08 Apr 08 - 12:27 AM (#2309763)
Subject: RE: Origins: 'Skin the Cat' and other family sayin
From: Rowan

"Dropping a clanger" was a polite way of saying that someone had made a serious mistake. It had a simialr meaning as "He may as well have farted in church." "Popular as a pork chop in Jerusalem" was another description of opprobium in my family, although these days I often hear "Popular as a pork chop in a mosque."

Cheers, Rowan


08 Apr 08 - 02:23 AM (#2309808)
Subject: RE: Origins: 'Skin the Cat' and other family sayings
From: Mr Red

Well I heard it from a teacher "there are more ways of skinning a cat than choking it with cream and butter" I guess any such fuller explanation has to be over-stated.

My mother always referred to the spring or any milder weather as "a top-coat warmer"

And in advising my sister on the marriageability of young men, grandma quoted her grandma: "Winter 'em, summer 'em and winter them again". Which sounds pretty good advice to me, wouldn't work on youngsters these days!.

And this would be in the "Folk" section as in "Music and Folklore" because it is folk lore.


08 Apr 08 - 02:34 AM (#2309813)
Subject: RE: Origins: 'Skin the Cat' and other family sayin
From: Rowan

Another description of a really cold night in our area was "a two dog night", implying it was so cold you needed a dog each side of you to stay warm. And if there was a heavy dew on the grass in the morning it was often said "the rabbi came last night".

Cheers, Rowan


08 Apr 08 - 08:05 AM (#2309955)
Subject: RE: Origins: 'Skin the Cat' and other family sayings
From: Mr Red

'how long is a piece of string?'

One end t' other - precisely.


08 Apr 08 - 09:28 AM (#2310016)
Subject: RE: Origins: 'Skin the Cat' and other family sayings
From: Bryn Pugh

Thick as a piss-stone (US _ urinal) and twice as wet.

Where are you going ? - there and back to see how far it is.

What are you doing ? - plaiting sawdust. When I've finished I'll
knit some fog.

As welcome as a turd in a swimming pool, or a bacon buttie at a Bar Mitzvah.

Running round like me arse is on fire.


08 Apr 08 - 09:50 AM (#2310040)
Subject: RE: Origins: 'Skin the Cat' and other family sayin
From: Flash Company

Also 'As welcome as a wasp at a picnic.'

Usual reply to 'Where's me Mum',
'She's run away with a Black man!'

Anyone pretending to be an authority on something would be asked 'And what do you know about duck farming?'

FC


08 Apr 08 - 06:21 PM (#2310600)
Subject: RE: Origins: 'Skin the Cat' and other family sayin
From: Rowan

how long is a piece of string?'

One end t' other - precisely.


"Double the distance from one end to the middle" - also precisely is my usual response to that question. It's one of several routine sayings that cause my daughters to roll their eyes. Another occurs whenever a shop assistant asks me
"Are you right?"
and I respond, with a smile,
"When I was younger, the customer was always right."

Occasionally I'll add "Confused, irritating, hopeless and often mistaken, but always right."

Cheers, Rowan


08 Apr 08 - 08:05 PM (#2310678)
Subject: RE: Origins: 'Skin the Cat' and other family sayings
From: SouthernCelt

Running round like me arse is on fire.

I always liked the one that went "Running around like their feet were on fire and their asses were catching."

Occasionally I'll add "Confused, irritating, hopeless and often mistaken, but always right."

Down South a lot of people adopted Brother Dave Gardner's comedic expression circa 1960 that went something like: Down here (the South) we may not always be right but, dearly beloved, we ain't NEVER wrong!"

SC


08 Apr 08 - 08:55 PM (#2310714)
Subject: RE: Origins: 'Skin the Cat' and other family sayings
From: GUEST,Chicken Charlie

Southern Celt--Well, I'll take that under advisement. It could be right, because I have been thinking that things like "right as rain" and "fit as a fiddle" are just due to the alliteration involved--I guess rhyme would work too. In like Flynn.

How long is a piece of string? reminds me of an oral history I once transcribed about how something said on one occasion became a common saying in that family thereafter. The subject, when young, was flying a kite when a sudden gust carried it into a tree and really trashed it. The young man was standing there, looking at his ex-kite with a sorrowful expression on his face when the Chinese cook came out of the house, surveyed the situation, and said (non-PC, but here goes), "Wassamadda, stling bloke?"

That became habitual in that family thereafter. Anytime anyone looked sad, confused or frustrated, another family member was likely to ask, "Wassamadda, stling bloke?"

CC


08 Apr 08 - 08:57 PM (#2310715)
Subject: RE: Origins: 'Skin the Cat' and other family sayings
From: GUEST,Chicken Charlie

Oh, and whenever somebody said something hard to accept, my Dad would say, "Everybody believes that, throw a dollar on the floor."

CC


08 Apr 08 - 10:37 PM (#2310768)
Subject: RE: Origins: 'Skin the Cat' and other family sayin
From: Rowan

While it was a common expression around my group when I was much younger, In like Flynn wasn't just a play with alliteration. Up until he died, Errol Flynn was a major 'character', along with Marilyn Monroe, in a vast repertoire of crude jokes that revolved around Flynn's reputation for sexual athletics and the size of his genitalia. This may have been a particularly Oz phenomenon, as he came from Tasmania and was always regarded as an Australian.

I've forgotten all of them, but I recall noticing that they all disappeared from everyone's repertoire within a week of hearing the news that he had died. The phrase you quote is all that seems to be left of that repertoire still in common usage; I heard it only last week.

"Like a rat up a drainpipe" has similar connotations but, when trying to establish whether item A will fit into item B, if it does fit tightly the phrases used are either
"like a thumb in a bum" (relying on rhyme)
or
"like a bum in a bucket", relying on alliteration, as you suggest.

Cheers, Rowan


08 Apr 08 - 10:46 PM (#2310772)
Subject: RE: Origins: 'Skin the Cat' and other family sayin
From: Genie

Well, my very shy Victorian-age-raised grandma used to say, in regard to something like dusting a piece of furniture quickly, that she'd "give it a lick and a promise."

Always kind of wondered what sorts of .. um .. activities gave rise to that expression.

*g*
G


08 Apr 08 - 11:21 PM (#2310786)
Subject: RE: Origins: 'Skin the Cat' and other family sayin
From: Karin

Down here in Mississippi it refers to Catfish...more than one way to skin the cat.


09 Apr 08 - 03:31 AM (#2310865)
Subject: RE: Origins: 'Skin the Cat' and other family sayings
From: Gurney

When asked by a youngster "How old are you?" the usual answer is "As old as my tongue and a little bit older than my teeth." While they are working it out you can change the subject,

My ex-boss says of a neat-fitting job "Fits like a parson's cock in a calves arse!"   Not a terribly sophisticated man.

"If the only tool you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail"
is a comment on a clumsy solution.


09 Apr 08 - 12:18 PM (#2311176)
Subject: RE: Origins: 'Skin the Cat' and other family sayings
From: GUEST,John from Kemsing

My grandmother on my mum`s side, apart from using a number of more tasteful ones above, often referred to our us childrens` hands and knees being "Black as Newgates knocker". Obviously referring to the London prison.


09 Apr 08 - 08:17 PM (#2311638)
Subject: RE: Origins: 'Skin the Cat' and other family sayin
From: Joe_F

My father used to say "drifting around like a fart in the marketplace".   I later found out (from Maurice Samuel) that that was a version of the Yiddish "vi a farts im roisl" (like a fart in the pickle barrel), referring to a fermentation bubble working its way up thru the interstices between the pickles. But that, in turn, was a play on "vi a frantsoiz in Rusland" (like a Frenchman in Russia), alluding to the stragglers in the retreat from Moscow.


09 Apr 08 - 09:17 PM (#2311683)
Subject: RE: Origins: 'Skin the Cat' and other family sayings
From: The Walrus

My late Father would sometimes refer to a tight fisted or grasping person as willing to "skin a turd for a ha'penny"


10 Apr 08 - 03:59 AM (#2311824)
Subject: RE: Origins: 'Skin the Cat' and other family sayings
From: JennieG

And there is the description I remember from my childhood of an unattractive woman (at least in the eyes of the beholder) - "she's as ugly as a hat full of arseholes".

My first husband, who came from a small town 100 miles north of my home town, used expressions I had never heard of such as "grinning like a goat chewing a quince", "grinning like a cat shitting razor blades" (very self explanatory!), so-and-so was said to be as slow as "an old gin (Aboriginal woman) handing out Bibles at a christening" - very non-PC these days. And something unusual was said to be "as rare as rocking horse poop".

I guess it is pretty rare.

Cheers
JennieG


10 Apr 08 - 06:13 AM (#2311898)
Subject: RE: Origins: 'Skin the Cat' and other family sayings
From: Mo the caller

Thank you Bryan for reminding me. My mother used to say "there and back to see how far it is" too. (we lived in London).

We were driving past a circus last night, and out come my younger daughters saying (now used in various contexts) "He wasn't a real clown, it was just somebody dressed up"......????


10 Apr 08 - 09:17 AM (#2311989)
Subject: RE: Origins: 'Skin the Cat' and other family sayings
From: SouthernCelt

My first husband, who came from a small town 100 miles north of my home town, used expressions I had never heard of such as "grinning like a goat chewing a quince", "grinning like a cat shitting razor blades" (very self explanatory!)

Reminds me of a "grinning like..." saying from South Mississippi: "Grinning like a mule eating briars." If you've ever seen a farm animal eating something with thorns or sharp, stiff stalks, they'll often chew with their mouths partially open in sort a sardonic or insincere-appearing "smile" to reduce irritation so the saying makes sense.

SC


10 Apr 08 - 09:50 AM (#2312020)
Subject: RE: Origins: 'Skin the Cat' and other family sayin
From: Flash Company

Another one came to mind:
What time is it?
Half past your pocket! (with the added threat, if you were really out of favour, 'When it gets to your bum it'll strike!'

FC


10 Apr 08 - 10:02 AM (#2312028)
Subject: RE: Origins: 'Skin the Cat' and other family sayings
From: GUEST,Chicken Charlie

I live in a Universe where every so often, seemingly unconnected things connect. In a totally 'other' context, I just learned that Desiderius Erasmus edited a book originally (16th century) called "Adagia," "Adages," containing, in successive editions, first 800, then 1000 and finally over 4500 pithy sayings he had gathered from his voracious reading. With this thread in mind, I thought it might be a kick to see if any of those we've been tossing around appear in it. There would seem to be several contemporary editions--one title is "The 'Adages' of Erasmus." Don't know if I'll have time to track it down this week, so if anyone has more time & sufficient interest, well, there it is. Who knows, maybe Gutenberg Project or whatever it's called has it on line by now?

CC


15 Apr 08 - 07:48 PM (#2316804)
Subject: RE: Origins: 'Skin the Cat' and other family sayin
From: Rowan

Over the weekend I found myself using another from my family. When you 'know' about someone but have never met them and couldn't recognise them, the phrase
"I wouldn't know 'em from a bar of soap!"
was used when I was a child. At around the time I went to uni, I started hearing the alternativ
"I wouldn't know her/him if s/he stood up in my soup!"

Soap sold by the length (a bar, about 12" long) was being replaced by the much less working class "cake" (often packaged separately as 1 cake/package) at around that time.

Cheers, Rowan


16 Apr 08 - 11:37 AM (#2317328)
Subject: RE: Origins: 'Skin the Cat' and other family sayings
From: GUEST,Joseph de Culver City

I had a friend who grew up in rural Kentucky who used to say 'slick as deer guts on a doorknob'. I thought that expression was peculiar to his family until I heard the same phrase on an LP by The Dillards.


11 May 08 - 09:04 PM (#2338018)
Subject: RE: Origins: 'Skin the Cat' and other family sayin
From: GUEST,QB

I dont know if these are family sayings or not but my uncle and my grand folks and my dad and some of my family will say these things alot and i dont know what some of them mean lol

"oh why dont you go run up a ally and holler fish?" sometimes when someone is frustrated at what people are saying or doing

"smart like a furless cat in the snow" lol this i geuss just means stupid

"colder then a well digers ass" umm dunno

"thank you for loveing me?" haha i dunno

"Yes/What Randy?" now this one we all say and i am stumped now that i tihnk about it

"Shut up the wild wine cat!" grandparents say this i have no clue why

and last but not least "Kill that holler child"


From QB


11 May 08 - 09:30 PM (#2338029)
Subject: RE: Origins: 'Skin the Cat' and other family sayin
From: GUEST,Desi

o.o ^_^ oo cool fun lol here are some fun and funny things my family say alot lol some i know some are kinna just been passed down and around our whole family lol maybe you know some of them too ^_^
"your mom"
"An yo mama!"
"Chraming darling just charming"
"Wow thats so very mellon"
"hmmm intoxicating"
"i smack ya!"
" dont make me smack that"
"i bet u wanna"
"try me i dare ya"
"wanna meet me outside then?"
"continue.... yes, yes, blah, blah ,ect, ect, ect we done now?"
"if i want to say something i will"
"oh dear i am all a quiver"
"Why do you wanna leave me?"
"myo? say wah the huh now?"
" your on Kp"
" wow she's walking on moonbeams"
"ones on cloud 9 the other is on cloud 911 HELP!"
and then " your burning daylight"


11 May 08 - 10:11 PM (#2338035)
Subject: RE: Origins: 'Skin the Cat' and other family sayings
From: Rumncoke

My mother's mother used to say 'you've made a lick and a promise' or 'you've given that neck a lick and a promise' to mean that efforts at cleaning had not been vigorous enough.

My mum said that it meant that the washer had just given it a fast wipe over and promised to do more next time.


11 May 08 - 11:18 PM (#2338060)
Subject: RE: Origins: 'Skin the Cat' and other family sayin
From: Rowan

My mum said that it meant that the washer had just given it a fast wipe over and promised to do more next time.

This was also the meaning behind my mother's comment "The tide's out!" Used whenever hands were washed only as far as the wrist, when up to the elbow would have been more appropriate.

"The tide's out!" was also used if the beer had too much head (and not enough beer) in the glass, or if the coffee was more than 3/16" below the rim when served across the counter. These weren't used to Mum though.

Cheers, Rowan


12 May 08 - 06:19 AM (#2338200)
Subject: RE: Origins: 'Skin the Cat' and other family sayin
From: GUEST,.gargoyle

I can guess the name of the clone on last night's throne.

My references/details to specific games was removed.

Sincerely,
Gargoyle


12 May 08 - 06:20 PM (#2338743)
Subject: RE: Origins: 'Skin the Cat' and other family sayings
From: CupOfTea

I was raised on poetry and platitudes, and a wealth of family sayings. Most came from my aunt's side & some Pennsylvania Deutch from my uncle's ("Cooking lasts, kissin' don't" - courting advice), with some Irishisms thrown in for good measure. Most of it was common usage in the eastern midwest: Ohio.

"Skinning the cat" was a monkey bars dismount- never heard it for peeling off an article of clothing. The inquiry "cat got your tongue?" was for a child who didn't have a thing to say - particularly when being asked to explain a misdeed. Some Victorian hangovers I heard often "Children should be seen and not heard" and, to caution another adult that there was a child in earshot: "Little pitchers have big ears" I never did get where that one came from, or what the pitchers were that had ears, but it was understandable in context, unlike "Handsome is as handsome does" which remains inexplicable even now. "Not someone you could take home on a dry Sunday" meant your family woudln't approve & implied your relatives had to be inebriated to appreciate that person's charms. I don't know if that goes back to the Prohibition era, or just the blue laws. (no booze sold on Sundays)

"Like taking coals to Newcastle" - for providing a redundant object or doing an unnecessary task. "(Going, doing, using) the whole nine yards" - for doing something completely. In art school I came to understand this originated from a whole bolt of cloth being 9 yards for a goodly number of years. Using it all up was a good thing, as opposed to "Going whole-hog" which had some negative connotations of overdoing something. Then if you were going to do a silly thing anyhow, you "Might as well be hung for a sheep as a lamb." An encouragement for "stick-to-it-iveness" was "It's dogged as does it," a phrase I used as a screen saver for years.

The euphemisms for crazy were endless, creative and common:"one brick shy of a load" "doesn't have both oars in the water" "elevator doesn't go to the top floor" or even for not too smart "not the brightest bulb in the marquee" "Wouldn't know a dog if it bit her"

We had a number of catchphrases we used around the house that evolved from specific events. "Couldn't see to get the blood off the wall" was the last line of a long droning story an elderly neighbor told - and none of us had been paying attention to the windup to this astonishing comment. Ever after it was used as a prompt to make sure someone was paying attention to what you were saying.


13 May 08 - 09:38 AM (#2339217)
Subject: RE: Origins: 'Skin the Cat' and other family sayings
From: GUEST,CrazyEddie

Anyone else have a philosophical monkey quoted to them?

If you complained about something:
"Hard lines! (as the monkey said when he sat on the railway)"

In response to impatient kids:(When! How soon! etc.)
"'Twon't be long now. (as the monkey said when he cut off his tail)"

When we asked Mum to find something, and it was in plain sight all along: "If 'twas a dog, 'twould bite you".


13 May 08 - 06:44 PM (#2339736)
Subject: RE: Origins: 'Skin the Cat' and other family sayin
From: Rowan

Not involving a monkey but similar;

"I see 't all, said the blind man, when he couldn't really see 't all." was a common expression in my family when there was doubt or confusion. In case this doesn't easily translate across various ponds, lakes, ditches etc, the complete sentence would be written as "I see it all, said the blind man, when he couldn't really see at all."

Cheers, Rowan


13 May 08 - 08:20 PM (#2339827)
Subject: RE: Origins: 'Skin the Cat' and other family sayings
From: JennieG

Rowan, a friend of mine used the term "APC" for a lick and a promise, it was a term her mother used - stands for "armpits and crotch", meaning a very quick wash with a tiny amound of water!

Cheers
JennieG


13 Oct 12 - 10:09 AM (#3419155)
Subject: RE: Origins: 'Skin the Cat' and other family sayings
From: GUEST

Hi There
I was just doing one of those random google searches and have come across this thread. I just thought that I should let you know that Eileen Vaughan (nee Cattanach)from Heidelberg is well and truly alive and giving me a run for my money as far as social life goes. She's 96 years old and doing amazing. What is beautiful is that you remember her gorgeous little sayings - she has a number of them. Thanks for remembering her, but she is still alive.
Cheers
Lou (grand daughter of the beautiful Eileen Vaughan)


13 Oct 12 - 11:53 AM (#3419216)
Subject: RE: Origins: 'Skin the Cat' and other family sayings
From: Jack Campin

I have actually seen this object:

Cat skinning trough

The page has more detail about how to do it than I really needed to know.


13 Oct 12 - 12:50 PM (#3419240)
Subject: RE: Origins: 'Skin the Cat' and other family sayings
From: GUEST,Doc John

In Woody Guthrie and Cisco Houston's 'Farmer Labour Train' they sing '...the guys who skin the cats....' Surely not cat skinners. Any ideas?


14 Oct 12 - 12:48 PM (#3419690)
Subject: RE: Origins: 'Skin the Cat' and other family sayings
From: GUEST,Doc John

...will now answer his own query. Obviously a guy who drives a bulldozer, which runs on caterpillar tracks c.f. muleskinner. Good old Wikipedia.
Still don't know about pigmeat however.


10 Dec 13 - 05:41 PM (#3583087)
Subject: RE: Origins: 'Skin the Cat' and other family sayings
From: GUEST

My Nana used to say it when she was taking off our shirts before bath time and also said it so fast it sounded more like "skinny cat".


10 Dec 13 - 06:59 PM (#3583111)
Subject: RE: Origins: 'Skin the Cat' and other family sayings
From: GUEST,Tim

You don't skin a cat, you swing it. And it is not a feline animal. It is a cat o'nine tails, a horrible nine-tailed whip used to punish sailors and leave their backs bleeding. This was done in the open air, for below deck there would not have been room to swing the cat, and in any case the rest of the crew were required to witness the punishment.
This origin of the phrase has been questioned, but it is the only explanation that convinces.


11 Dec 13 - 09:43 AM (#3583291)
Subject: RE: Origins: 'Skin the Cat' and other family sayings
From: Uncle_DaveO

Of a brutally plain-spoken person: "He's not afraid to call a spade a dirty damned shovel!"

Someone asks me, "How are you this morning?" I answer,
"Oh, I think I'll last at least as long as lunch!" I'll often add, "That's called limited objectives."

Dave Oesterreich


25 Aug 15 - 10:40 PM (#3733235)
Subject: RE: Origins: 'Skin the Cat' and other family sayings
From: GUEST,jack

my mother always said "skin a cat" to us when removing our t-shirts as small children. we, too, would call it "skinny cat". mom was born in texas, grew up in kansas and told us this in california


26 Aug 15 - 03:13 AM (#3733261)
Subject: RE: Origins: 'Skin the Cat' and other family sayings
From: Jim Carroll

My mother was full of pithy, sometimes bawdy sayings such as, when I tried to make a feeble excuse for something I'd done wrong;
"You're full of wind and pee, like the barber's cat".
When I first tried my hand at singing, she told me amusedly, "If you were singing for shit, you wouldn't get the smell of it"
I always liked the various responses to the question, "what's for diner" when I was growing up in Liverpool - a particularfavourite was "Cow's cock and hairy bacon".
Or describing a short person, "He'd have to stand on tuppence to look over thruppence".
Jim Carroll


26 Aug 15 - 10:14 AM (#3733311)
Subject: RE: Origins: 'Skin the Cat' and other family sayings
From: GUEST,JTT

Thick as a kish of brogues here, though why a basket of shoes should be thick I don't know.

Skin the cat was always this when I was growing up

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Np_s2fnYjso

though on a pole, not rings. My family swears I could do this before I could walk, but I was a *very* skinny baby.

Google tells me that the etymology of zoot suit is a joke formation of 'zoot' from 'suit' - presumably the same for 'reet' and 'right', ie exact, tidy.


22 Nov 15 - 01:22 AM (#3752616)
Subject: RE: Origins: 'Skin the Cat' and other family sayings
From: GUEST

Cuter than a spotted pup.
Handier than a pocket on a shirt.
I ain't had so much fun since the hogs ate my baby brother.
You can't make a silk purse out of a sow's ear.
Colder than a witch's tit in a brass bra.
Hotter than a fresh-(blanked) fox in a forest fire. Sometimes its a half-(blanked) fox...
That idea or plan is half-baked.


24 Nov 15 - 05:25 AM (#3753116)
Subject: RE: Origins: 'Skin the Cat' and other family sayings
From: GUEST,silver

An old and very dear American friend wrote in a letter recently that he is "getting lighter on his feet". Wonder what he meant? Losing weight? Or property? Or gaining strength? (He is recovering from surgery.)
In my native language, "light on one's feet" (usually said of a woman and not PC these days) means "of loose morals". I don't think it applies to this gentleman at all.


24 Nov 15 - 08:12 AM (#3753143)
Subject: RE: Origins: 'Skin the Cat' and other family sayings
From: GUEST

She's got legs like an all night chemist

He's all gravy and no meat.

After a pint he's ex army, after four he's ex SAS

Many of the much older men when I was an apprentice would delight in getting one of us to ask what sort of dog he had. "A wooden 'un wi' a tin prick!" Then they'd all fall about laughing.


14 Mar 16 - 12:15 AM (#3778674)
Subject: RE: Origins: 'Skin the Cat' and other family sayings
From: GUEST,Gustave Kulenkamp

Grinning like a goat eating quinces was my old granny Bini's favourite sayings


14 Mar 16 - 12:51 AM (#3778678)
Subject: RE: Origins: 'Skin the Cat' and other family sayings
From: MGM·Lion

Re "all gravy and no meat" cited just above -- there are lots of lovely variants of this formula. I have previously had published in Nigel Rees's "Quote-Unquote" bulletin one of my favourite of these --

"All hat and no cattle".

≈M≈


07 Aug 16 - 09:22 PM (#3804095)
Subject: RE: Origins: 'Skin the Cat' and other family sayings
From: GUEST

My grand mother would say this every time she pulled anything off over our heads like a tee-shirt or our pajamas . Tennessee


08 Aug 16 - 03:54 AM (#3804112)
Subject: RE: Origins: 'Skin the Cat' and other family sayings
From: Mr Red

in my day, children who could not sit still were accused of having: ants in their pants

A girlfriend used to say (advising to ignore the insult (eg)): take a lot of 'no never'
she, on communal searching for an object: there it is! Gone. Inevitably we would be hoping (for a second) she had spotted it.


08 Aug 16 - 09:22 AM (#3804150)
Subject: RE: Origins: 'Skin the Cat' and other family sayings
From: clueless don

"all gravy and no meat" reminds me of a friend who described his cat as "all fluff and no stuff".


08 Aug 16 - 03:42 PM (#3804215)
Subject: RE: Origins: 'Skin the Cat' and other family sayings
From: Thompson

'Light on his/her feet' here (Ireland) means more or less literally what it says: to be wiry and fast-moving.