Monday, October 5, 2015

No bull

The essentially English word bull is refined beyond the mountains, and perhaps elsewhere, into cow-creature, male-cow, and even gentleman-cow . A friend who resided many years in the West has told me of an incident where a gray-headed man of sixty doffed his hat reverently and apologized to clergyman for having used inadvertently in his hearing the plain Saxon term.

John Russell Bartlett, A Glossary of Words and Phrases Usually Regarded as Peculiar to the United States (1848). Quoted in H. L. Mencken, The American Language: An Inquiry into the Development of English in the United States , 4th ed. (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1936).
Also from The American Language
The American v. the Englishman : B.V.D. : “[N]o faculty so weak as the English faculty” : On professor : Playing policy : “There are words enough already” : The -thon , dancing and walking : The verb to contact

[John Russell Bartlett was a historian and linguist. No relation to Quotations.]

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