Date: Wed, 11 Mar 1998 14:39:28 -0500
From: Beverly Flanigan flanigan[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]OAK.CATS.OHIOU.EDU
Subject: Re: Ring around the rosie(s)

I'm trying to recall the rhyme from the dim and distant past (a malapropism
there?): I assume the rosie is the person in the middle of a circle,
around whom others ring. But granted this, why did the British rhyme use
rosies and posies in the first place? I'm aware that "ashes to ashes, all
fall down" referred to the plague, but I don't get the allusion to flowers,
unless they're placed on the graves of the plague-dead? What a macabre game!

And while we're on games (a new thread?), does anybody recall "Antie I
over" (sp?)? We played it (throwing a ball over the house and then running
around to tag people), but I have no idea where the phrase came from. (I
think I looked it up in DARE once but can't recall whether the words were
explained or not.) Ditto with "Allie allie in/oxen free"--why these words?

At 11:34 AM 3/11/98 -0600, you wrote:
On Wed, 11 Mar 1998, Larry Horn wrote:
These are all nice malapropisms, granted, although I'd also call them nonce
reanalyses and/or folk etymologies, since they all involve an invention of
transparency at some level. Many of them are widely attested (the

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There are 19 messages totalling 605 lines in this issue.

Topics of the day:

1. Spittin' Image (2)
2. connecticut folk (revisited) (2)
3. Dictionaries on CD-ROM
4. Distnc. btw. "crick"&"creek", GREASY/GREAZY
5. Re[2]: Spittin' Image (3)
6. wife-beaters (5)
8. butt (2)
9. standardization of non-standard forms


Date: Sun, 8 Mar 1998 23:40:45 -0600
Subject: Spittin' Image

FWIW. The term 'spittin' image / 'spitten image' has been discussed once,
maybe twice, on ads-l. The 75th-Anniverary edition of TIME Magazine has
this interesting letter:

Oct. 11, 1927
The records on "spittin' image" should certainly be kept straight. I don't
think that the expression has anything to do with saliva. It originated, I
believe, among the darkies of the South and the correct phrasing--without
dialect--is "spirit and image." It was originally used in speaking of some
person whose father had passed on--and the colored folks would say--"the
very spi't an' image of his daddy."
Joel Chandler Harris Jr.
Atlanta, Ga.