19th Century Equivalent of “kick your ass”??? 
Posted: 01 November 2007 01:26 AM   [ Ignore ]
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Anyone? I’m sitting here working on a story set in 1828 Britain and I can’t think what the equivalent would be to telling someone you’re going to kick their ass. Does anyone have any ideas? I know “ass” is not in common usage at that time for someone’s rear end so....

Any ideas? Thanks in advance!
J.

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Posted: 01 November 2007 03:03 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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Who says “ass” wasn’t usual then? The pronunciation may have been variable, but “ass"/"arse" is old. However, “kick [someone’s] ass” [figurative] is recent, I think.

[ Edited: 01 November 2007 03:19 AM by D Wilson ]
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Posted: 01 November 2007 03:22 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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Festus, from Gunsmoke: “knock you upside your head ... all over you like ugly on a stick.”

Naval/military: “thoroughly rout” or “overwhelmingly defeat.”

MacBeth, act I, scene ii: “till he unseam’d him from the nave to the chaps.”

I thought “zither to gullet” was a rough approximation but can’t find it.

[ Edited: 01 November 2007 03:59 AM by Iron Pyrite ]
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Posted: 01 November 2007 09:49 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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How literally do you intend it?  Is it being used simply as a synonym for “defeat soundly” or is there an element of (the threat of) physical violence?

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Posted: 01 November 2007 10:11 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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It would also be helpful to know the class of the speaker.

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Posted: 01 November 2007 01:06 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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Upper: “I shall see to it that His Grace hears of this, the moment he returns from Westminster!”

Middle: “I"ll have the law on you, sir!”

Working: “A’m gowan ta mek tha wish tha’d never bin born, tha bloody fookin miserable little git”

;-)

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Posted: 01 November 2007 10:55 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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I’ll scuff thee head to smithereens, ye varment!

Hell, I don’t know.

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Posted: 01 November 2007 11:07 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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Hahahaha! Yeah, I know… you wouldn’t think it would be this hard, would you? I feel like I know what I’m looking for but it’s right ont he tip of my tongue… or keyboard… and I can’t quite figure it out.

In answer to D. Wilson: etymonline.com says:
slang for “backside,” first attested 1860 in nautical slang, in popular use from 1930; chiefly U.S.; from dial. variant pronunciation of arse

I could use arse but it sounds kind of silly to me.

The context is literal, as in “I’m going to kick your ass”. The speaker would be a male of the upper class but of sufficiently shady character that I’m not terribly concerned with his social standing having that great a bearing on his speech patterns, at least in this instance.

Thanks for all your suggestions! If you think of anything else, please let me know!
Jenna

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Posted: 01 November 2007 11:26 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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you wouldn’t think it would be this hard, would you?

The hardest things are of one’s own making.

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Posted: 02 November 2007 12:20 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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But a person’s moral character doesn’t by and large affect his speech patterns, which are mostly acquired during one’s upbringing. An 1830s working-class Englishman might very well say “You’ll feel my boot up your arse!” or some such thing, but it’s my feeling that someone brought up as a gentleman, however depraved and used to mixing in low company, would not. If your character is literally offering to kick this person, how about “You’ll feel the toe of my boot!”?

By the way, if you do use the word, it is always spelt “arse” in British English, as it has been for centuries, because it’s pronounced that way. “Ass” in British English means either a furry grey creature with long ears, or that an American character is speaking, or that an American author wrote the piece.

[ Edited: 02 November 2007 12:28 AM by Syntinen Laulu ]
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Posted: 02 November 2007 01:14 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
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Threats to horsewhip people were quite common.
Especially from the horsewhip- and horse-owning classes.

http://books.google.com/books?q="horsewhip+you+OR+him&lr=&sa=N&start=70

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Posted: 02 November 2007 02:31 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]
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Syntinen Laulu - 02 November 2007 12:20 AM

By the way, if you do use the word, it is always spelt “arse” in British English, as it has been for centuries, because it’s pronounced that way.

But note:  The R is not actually pronounced in any sense conveyed by an American sense of the word pronounced.  What it means is that the A is a long AH sound so that the resulting pronunciation is better represented by [aahss] to someone who actually does pronounce Rs when they are there and doesn’t when they aren’t.  But do spell it that way or your characters will not seem real.  In fact, you should consider getting the services of a legitimate British speaker to vette all your English conversations.

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Posted: 02 November 2007 04:34 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]
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’box his ears’, ‘thrash him soundly’ or ‘give him a hiding’ are, I suspect, of about the right period and are British expressions. Your best bet may be to look in British novels of the same period - ‘Tom Browns Schooldays’ (Thomas Hughes) might be a good one for slang. Charles Dickens was about contemporary with your period (he published later but was growing up/working then). Another possible source would be criminal court reports of the period as people’s exact words may be in the evidence. BTW expressions may depend on where the speaker is from in the UK as well as the time period.

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Posted: 02 November 2007 06:05 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]
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Upper: “I shall see to it that His Grace hears of this, the moment he returns from Westminster!”

Middle: “I"ll have the law on you, sir!”

Working: “A’m gowan ta mek tha wish tha’d never bin born, tha bloody fookin miserable little git”

It actually would have been more like:

Upper: “Bugger off, you bloody, fucking miserable little git.”

Middle: “I"ll have the law on you, sir!”

Working: “A’m gowan ta mek tha wish tha’d never bin born, tha bloody fookin miserable little git”

The Victorian upper class were very big on swearing. It’s the middle class that had all the hang-ups.

[ Edited: 02 November 2007 06:34 AM by Dave Wilton ]
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Posted: 02 November 2007 06:44 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 14 ]
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Dave Wilton - 02 November 2007 06:05 AM

The Victorian upper class were very big on swearing. It’s the middle class that had all the hang-ups.

1828 wasn’t the Victorian period (OK Flynn’s being picky!)

But they were just as unrefined in the Regency.

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Posted: 02 November 2007 07:43 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 15 ]
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They were more unrefined in the Regency—that’s pretty much what the Regency was all about.

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