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Thread: dog's balls

  1. #11
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Default Re: dog's balls

    Quote Originally Posted by fivejedjon View Post
    The BrE expression is Dog's bollocks, not to be used in polite circles.
    It can be shortened to the dog's to avoid offending people directly.

  2. #12
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    BobK is offline Harmless drudge
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    Default Re: dog's balls

    Quote Originally Posted by Tdol View Post
    It can be shortened to the dog's to avoid offending people directly.
    ... in the same way that "I don't give a monkey's" is used, avoiding the unmentionable possession, or bad beer tastes like "gnats'".

    I've heard from a fairly reliable source (Stephen Fry I think) a derivation for 'dog's bollocks' that is not mentioned on that Phrase Finder page. Some commodity (it may have been the toy construction set, 'Meccano') was listed in a catalogue as '<whatever> - Box (standard)/ Box (deluxe)'. From this we get two idioms; "bog standard" and "dog's bollocks".

    Two for the price of one -neat! I'm not sure I believe, but I'm impressed.

    b

  3. #13
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    nyota is offline Senior Member
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    Default Re: dog's balls

    That's it. I'm making a list of all those phrases. Even if some of them are dated, I absolutely love it how absurd they are!

    canary's tusks
    cat's pyjamas
    snake's hips
    flea's eyebrows
    monkey's eyebrows
    ___________________not___dated_:
    bee's knees
    cat's whiskers
    dog's bollocks (coarser)

    I was also checking what followed I don't give a monkey's and I tastes like gnats' and I've stumbled upon this Semantic enigmas - I don't give a monkey's.

  4. #14
    JMurray is offline Key Member
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    Default Re: dog's balls

    BobK – re bollocks, you might be interested in this.
    Bog standard

  5. #15
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    Default Re: dog's balls

    I've met 'the cat's pyjamas', but before that I had seen 'the rat's pyjamas'. I can date it fairly precisely, as it was in an article by Alan Coren (RIP) in Punch (RIP) at the time when Uganda was taken over by Idi Amin in 1971.

    b

  6. #16
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    Default Re: dog's balls

    Quote Originally Posted by JMurray View Post
    BobK – re bollocks, you might be interested in this.
    Bog standard
    Thanks

    Hmm. Phrase finder says

    Even if they could come up with such a box label, and that remains noticeably lacking, how is that linguistic jump supposed to have occurred, and why the long gap between the construction sets and the phrase being found in print?
    'Linguistic jump'? Speaking as a student of philology, I can say that it's hardly a jump at all. Consider the French guirlande and the Spanish grinalda. We can ignore the u, as it just keeps th g hard.

    So we've got French

    G + I + R + L + A + N + D + <unstressed final vowel>

    versus Spanish

    G + R + I + N + A + L + D + <unstressed final vowel>

    The beginning and the end are the same, but four of the middle five phonemes are in different positions, and the only 'stable' one changes in quality (it's nasalized). In language development, phonemes jump about.

    As I said, I'm not convinced either way; but I'm certainly not convinced either by the unnamed know-alls at Phrase Finder!

    b

  7. #17
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    Default Re: dog's balls

    I've added a bit to my last post here.

    b

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