Farmed
Posted: 09 September 2016 09:47 PM   [ Ignore ]
Moderator
Avatar
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  883
Joined  2007-02-07

The word/expression “farmed” in today’s fishing slang means losing a fish while trying to land it. It usually happens from screwing up your rod handling and letting off pressure, which gives the fish a chance to throw the hook. However, among many fishermen, catch and release is the norm and so letting the fish throw the hook can also be done intentionally*, whereby one embraces his farmer status.

Me: “Oh good, he’s off.”

Fishing Buddy: “Bullshit, you farmed it.”

Me: “Call me Old MacDonald”

I think it’s a pretty safe bet this comes from the expression “buying the farm” and so I was wondering if anyone has encountered any other similar “farming” in the sense of things going wrong usages.

*intentionally - as in you try something you hope will work.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 10 September 2016 05:32 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
Moderator
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  4513
Joined  2007-01-29

I think it’s a pretty safe bet this comes from the expression “buying the farm”

Really?  That wouldn’t have occurred to me, and it doesn’t convince me.  “He bought the farm” = “He died”; how is this related to “You farmed the fish” = “You lost the fish”?  They don’t even seem in the same ballpark.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 10 September 2016 06:40 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
Moderator
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  3986
Joined  2007-02-26
languagehat - 10 September 2016 05:32 AM

I think it’s a pretty safe bet this comes from the expression “buying the farm”

Really?  That wouldn’t have occurred to me, and it doesn’t convince me.  “He bought the farm” = “He died”; how is this related to “You farmed the fish” = “You lost the fish”?  They don’t even seem in the same ballpark.

Mmm. The first thing that came to my mind was “fish farming”, which involves deliberately releasing fish into tanks or reservoirs.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 10 September 2016 08:14 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
Moderator
Avatar
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  883
Joined  2007-02-07

Oh I think this sort of generalizing and minimizing happens all the time. I’ve heard fighter pilots refer to crashing and dying as having a bad day. If it makes sense that the benign act of purchasing real estate can be a euphemism for the act of losing one’s life, then is it really all that much of a stretch to play with death by simply putting it in the “unfortunate occurrences” column?

It’s a matter of perspective, isn’t it? From one perspective, losing one’s life is the ultimate tragedy and hardly comparable to losing a fish. From another perspective, they’re sitting together on the bench as they wait their turn in the “Unfortunate Occurrences” games in the Stadium of Life. Some gladiators die in that arena and some wind up on America’s Funniest Videos. Seems like tragedy and humor playing together as usual to me.

Besides, your argument is based on the idea that losing a fish is not a tragedy comparable in emotional impact to death and all I can say to that is you should go back to your books and let us fishermen grieve our losses in peace. You know not the inner workings of a fisherman’s heart.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 10 September 2016 09:30 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
Administrator
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  6321
Joined  2007-01-03

This sense isn’t in Urban Dictionary. My guess is that it’s peculiar to fishing. (It’s in several online glossaries of fishing slang, so it’s definitely a term of art in that world.)

And like LH, I don’t see the “buy the farm” connection. OP Tipping’s suggestion as being from fish farming is more plausible, but still a bit of a stretch.

In online role-playing-games, to farm is to engage repetitively in an activity that generates credits or experience points, as in to repetitively hunt an easy to kill monster. That seems to be the opposite of the fishing sense.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 10 September 2016 11:20 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
Moderator
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  3466
Joined  2007-01-31

My first suspicion would be that it derives from farmer as a disparaging term for someone who is unsophisticated, cf. hick, rube.  In this case, someone unskilled at the craft under discussion, i.e. fishing.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 11 September 2016 12:48 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
Moderator
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  1173
Joined  2007-03-01

Farmer is also a traditional jibe for a clumsy and unhandy sailor, so it’s possible that sense migrated from sailing to fishing circles.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 11 September 2016 04:42 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
Administrator
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  6321
Joined  2007-01-03

Don’t know why I didn’t look up farmer, as opposed to just the earlier farm, v., on my earlier search.

Yes, farmer has been general, US slang for a rustic, foolish, or incompetent fellow since the mid 1800s. HDAS and the OED give the specific nautical sense, which dates to the 1880s, somewhat differently. It’s a sailor on watch who is neither at the wheel or designated as a lookout, so he is able to sleep while on watch. HDAS gives no indication that incompetence or foolishness is involved. So the general slang term is the best bet for an origin, even if the specific nautical sense is out of the running. And it could certainly be that Syntinen Laulu is right and the HDAS definition is a bit off.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 11 September 2016 07:42 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
Moderator
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  4513
Joined  2007-01-29

Oh I think this sort of generalizing and minimizing happens all the time.

All sorts of things happen all the time; that has little to do with etymology.  Your guess is an interesting illustration of how minds work (in this case, perhaps specifically a fisherman’s mind) but nothing more.

Profile
 
 
   
 
 
‹‹ Chomsky Rebutted      behalf ››