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Dennis Coleman

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Dennis Coleman

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My personal collection of odd words and expressions.
by Dennis Coleman   
Rated "PG13" by the Author.
Last edited: Saturday, March 01, 2008
Posted: Saturday, April 07, 2007

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Is it just me, or do we all use words and phrases that make no sense at all?

I am interested in words, and expressions that we use, that seem to make no sense. While they make no sense, we all understand them. As a for instance, recently someone used the expression toward me, “You ain’t shit.”

Was I wrong to respond with the words, “Thank You.”?


Here are some other words and expressions that I find curious.



My friend Dave recently used the phrase, “What a gyp!” For those who don’t know, this is an expression that denotes low value, or a lack of equity. Today, people tend to say “rip-off.” I prefer gyp. I don’t where “gyp” comes from, but I don't knows what a “rip-off,” is either.




I recall this word from the sixties. Like “gyp,” it seems to have become passé. Nobody that I know ever had a clear definition, but it seemed to be interchangeable with “jerk,” or “jerk-off.” Clearly, “strapper,” sounds more mysterious, and cool.


Blow smoke up your ass.


Generally, we hear this as either, “I’m not trying to blow smoke up your ass,” or “He’s just blowing smoke up your ass.” In either case, it seems to represent a lack of sincerity. Where in the hell did this expression come from? I have never felt so intimate with someone that I would make this invitation, or accept it.

What would be the effect of your ass having smoke blown into it? Would it hurt?



Blow hot air up your skirt.


I think that this is another form of the smoke thing. Do women find this sensuous? I don’t know. None have ever requested it, not from me at least.


Out the wazoo.


This can be defined as, “a lot,” I’m pretty sure. Although there is no definition for “wazoo,” I suppose that since things come out of it, that it is interchangeable with “ass.” This is a pretty weak conjecture, I will admit. Things also come out of doors, and windows, and no one would interchange them with “wazoo.” It seems to have evolved into a useful all-purpose term, since it is reasonable to have radishes, money, traffic violations, or even relatives, coming out of your “wazoo.”

Although it always sounds disgusting to me, it seems to be appropriate for mixed company.

Out the YingYang


I’m fairly certain that YingYang is the Asian word for Wazoo, so the above rules apply.




Candy Ass


This one is a real mystery to me, but it is another made-up word or expression that includes your butt, or it’s purpose. If you said, “he’s a real candy-ass,” you would know that it is an attack on a man’s virility. Why “candy,” though?

I guess it just sounds right. Try anything else, and it misses the meaning. For instance, try “he’s a real claw hammer ass,” or “I won’t play rugby with Bill anymore, he’s too much of a manila folder ass.” Other sweet stuff doesn’t work any better. “Don’t ask Skip, he’s too much of a syrup behind.”


Sick as a dog.


I don’t get this one. In the course of a year, everybody I know will have more episodes of sickness than any dog that I have ever been around. For the most part, dogs see getting sick as the activity immediately preceding “kicking the bucket.” This leads me to…


Kick the bucket.


If you look it up, there are a couple of ridiculous guesses about where this comes from. One of them includes French pigs, and the other one suicide.

That definition seems to demand that everybody that hangs themselves, does so by standing on a bucket. I have heard of many other items used also, but perhaps they lack the poetic resonance of the word “bucket.”

I will admit, “He kicked the stump,” or “Did you hear that Sarah kicked the block of ice?” sounds awkward.





This seems to be one of those rare words that sound like what it is. Still, I don’t know how to define it well, and there aren’t any reasonable synonyms, with the possible exception of “dawdle.” Although “dawdle,” doesn’t sound like “mosey,” it does sound like what it is, though.


Get it off my chest.


How did it get on your chest in the first place, and why there, of all places? It would make more sense to say “I have something I want to get off of my tongue,” but that lacks something, doesn’t it?



I don’t give a rat’s ass.


Where did this one originate? Was there a time when kids went around collecting them, for UNICEF or something, and people turned them down? Also, this seems to suggest that the opposite would be a positive, but it sure ain’t.

Imagine looking longingly into your lover’s eyes, and tell them, “You’re the kind of girl I could give a rat’s ass to.” It just lacks romance, or worth.


A Shitload


Another in a long line of hiney references. Supposedly, this means “a lot,” or perhaps, “the maximum.” And, you can have a “Shitload,” of anything, which sort of converts shit into something good. For instance, you can have a “Shitload of roses,” or a “Shitload of Hallmark Cards.” You have to be careful mixing this with others though; I don’t think that you can have a “Shitload,” of something, “out the wazoo.”




Although there is an “S” on the end of this, I don’t think that there is a singular version. I have never heard anybody claim “Dib,” on the last slice of pizza.

It seems that “Dibs,” will provide ownership of anything for you, but only if you “call” it.

You can’t just say “Dibs.”

It seems that “Dibs” is most often used regarding seating arrangements, where “Saving,” can also be employed. A word of caution; you cannot “Save,” a seat that you do not have “Dibs,” on.






And, we seem to have an aversion to saying the word “everything.” In it’s place we have a thousand replacements. For instance, in the place of the word “everything,” or “all,” we choose:


The whole nine yards. (why nine?)

The whole shootin’ match.

The whole enchilada.

The whole ball of wax. (How often do you see wax as a spheroid?)

The whole ball game.

The whole deal.

The whole kit and caboodle (don’t ask.)

The whole shebang (is there a hebang?)



I’ll bet that you can think of some others. If you do, let me know. I’m not trying to blow smoke up your ass, but these expressions are coming out the wazoo.


Perhaps you don’t give a rat’s ass, but I’ll bet there are a Shitload more of these. Maybe we can continue this with, “The Whole Shootin’ Match of odd words and expressions, Part II.


By the way, does anyone know what “shinola,” is?




Web Site: The odd world of dennis

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Reviewed by Dave H 9/1/2008
Dennis, very funny. Here’s one for your next compilation. My grandmother used it if something smelled rancid…the only person I have ever heard voice it. “That could choke a dog off a gut wagon” Dave
Reviewed by Frank Koerner 7/29/2008
Where do these expressions come from? the crap out of me.
Reviewed by Dan Hladik (Reader) 4/29/2008
I gotta assume you never googled 'shinola', but if you were old (= old as me), you'd know that Shinola = brand of shoe polish. Funny, but I don't think "doesn't know shit from Shinola" works as well as it did in the pre-1950 era. Far fewer brown shoes, and if you think of shoe polish as only black in color...
Reviewed by Julie Donner Andersen 2/29/2008
I laughed myself filly through this entire piece. Dennis, I am sure there are hundreds more to add to your list. Can't wait to read your take on those in the future, too.

Reviewed by Eileen Granfors 1/14/2008
Funny, funny, funny. I just learned that to "turn a cold shoulder" comes from serving the worst piece of meat (the shoulder of the mutton) to someone you don't like! Who would have thought that?

Gyp comes from "gypsies."

Other than that, I'll have to resort to my Dictionary of Slang and Euphemism, which is hilarious to sit and read. I've been working on short stories based on a word's etymology (i.e. "Manna" on this web site) and it's challenging. Love to talk about words! Good work, Dennis.
Reviewed by Katie Gabrielle 8/28/2007
this is a wonderful write very well!!!

Reviewed by Doug Miller 7/2/2007
I've wondered about these very same things. Good article - thanks.
Reviewed by Shorty White 4/21/2007
I always know when I get notified that you have posted an article or some form of writing to Authors Den, I will be entertained and just cannot wait to see what it is that you have written. Great piece of writing and I thoroughly enjoyed reading it.

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