“Don’t get your dauber down”
Posted: 17 April 2017 04:49 PM   [ Ignore ]
Total Posts:  371
Joined  2007-02-24

I believe I asked about this one way back when, but could not bring it up. It was a phrase used by my mom when one of us kids would start pouting about something. Just curious why the word “dauber” was used

Posted: 17 April 2017 05:24 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
Total Posts:  6613
Joined  2007-01-03

I’ve got a bit more info now. Green’s Dictionary of Slang has an entry:

dauber n.
also dobber
[? link to dial. dobber, a ‘wonder’]

(US) spirit, morale.

1913 [US] Eve. Times (Grand Forks, ND) 6 Jan. 4/4: In the majority of cases two or three returns from the big show serve to get a recruit’s angora and his ‘dauber’ goes down.
1925 [US] R. Lardner ‘Women’ in Coll. Short Stories (1941) 154: The boys were depressed. In their own language, their dauber was down.
1947 [US] C. Willingham End as a Man (1952) 158: Don’t get your dauber up, let me explain.
1953 [US] Randolph & Wilson Down in the Holler 258: keep your dobbers up: phr. To keep up one’s courage.
1967 [US] (con. 1920s) J. Thompson South of Heaven (1994) 117: He [...] told me to keep my dauber up.

I don’t know where Green gets the reference to dobber, a wonder. But according to DARE, a dobber is also a bobber or float on a fishing line in New York/New Jersey dialect. Quotes go back to Washington Irving. (Not of the phrase, just of dobber being used to refer to a float.) The use of a word for a fishing float to refer to unsinkable morale makes a kind of sense.

One of the old Yuku threads is here. Evidently there was more than one.

Posted: 17 March 2018 05:40 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
Total Posts:  371
Joined  2007-02-24

I keep thinking of this one. I did some more research and found this:


I still like the idea that it came from painting or plastering. The idea that if you let your dauber droop towards the ground, whatever that was on the dauber would end up on the floor or ground. In other words, keep your head in the game.

As I have said before, my mother used the phrase, and I used to hear it related to sports. I have not heard anyone use it for quite a while.

By the way, thanks for your reply back then, Dave.