make up/invent/write down
Posted: 03 May 2018 06:59 AM   [ Ignore ]
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  1427
Joined  2007-04-28

I read this in the Guardian about Trump dictating his medical status to his doctor.

“He dictated the whole thing,” Borstein told CNN on Tuesday. “I just made it up as I went along,” he unclarified, but I think we can call this an idiomatic US/UK difference: over there, the phrase clearly means: “I wrote down what that other person was saying.”

Is this right? She’s taking the piss but what did the doc mean? That he edited it to make it semi-literate?

[ Edited: 03 May 2018 07:14 AM by venomousbede ]
Profile
 
 
Posted: 03 May 2018 09:00 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
Avatar
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  1627
Joined  2007-03-21

There is no idiomatic UK/US difference. The etymologically related word “idiot” comes to mind.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 03 May 2018 02:03 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
Administrator
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  6465
Joined  2007-01-03

It seems the sequence of events was that Trump dictated the letter in a phone conversation while the doctor was driving. Bornstein told Trump that there were some things he couldn’t say, so he had some editorial input. Then when he had returned to his office, he actually scribed the letter.

As far as the statement “I just made it up as I went along” goes, the “it” could refer to the story he had previously concocted about the letter. Or it may refer to him copying down from memory what Trump had said.

In any case, I don’t think there’s much profit in a close reading of the doctor’s exact words.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 03 May 2018 06:00 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
Avatar
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  1627
Joined  2007-03-21

Speaking of UK/US idioms, what does She’s taking the piss ... mean?

Profile
 
 
Posted: 04 May 2018 03:41 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
Avatar
RankRankRank
Total Posts:  344
Joined  2007-06-14
Oecolampadius - 03 May 2018 06:00 PM

Speaking of UK/US idioms, what does She’s taking the piss ... mean?

In this context it means joking, kidding.  The phrase can have additional meanings.

Here’s a made up example.  I’m an AE speaker; my wife is a BE speaker.

Me- I’m going to Dam Hard (Damariscotta Hardware Store) for a left-handed monkey wrench.  Back in an hour or two.
She- Monkey wrench?  What on earth! 
Me-What you lot call a spanner.
She-You’ve a cellar full of tools already.  Stop taking the piss.  Don’t buy too many books, and get some prawns while you’re in town.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 05 May 2018 02:00 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  3087
Joined  2007-01-30

Yes, taking the piss is a standard British idiom. The sanitized version is taking the mickey. Both phrases surface in the 40s.

From OED:

1945 Penguin New Writing 26 49 The corporal..sat back in his corner looking a little offended. He thought I was taking the piss

1948 A. Baron From City, from Plough vi. 49 ‘Higgsy,’ said the sergeant, ‘they think I’m taking the mickey. Tell ‘em.’

Profile
 
 
Posted: 05 May 2018 04:34 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
Administrator
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  6465
Joined  2007-01-03

It’s commonly thought that take the mickey is rhyming slang, Mickey/Mike Bliss = Piss, but that may not be the case. The phrase take the mike is even older. From Green’s Dictionary of Slang:

1922 [UK] ‘J.H. Ross’ Mint (1955) 121: But mate, you let the flight down, when he takes the mike out of you every time.
1937 [UK] J. Curtis There Ain’t No Justice 11: Everyone round here takes the mike outa him just because he wears glasses and can’t talk without stammering, but my Ernie’s worth ten of your tu’penny ha’penny boxers.
1939 [UK] V. Davis Gentlemen of the Broad Arrows 117: Do you know what happens to saucy lags who try to take a mike out of me?
1941 [UK] G. Kersh They Die with Their Boots Clean 190: Are you trying to take the mike out of me? Or are you just potty?

The OED has:

a1935 T. E. Lawrence Mint (1955) ii. vi. 117 But, mate, you let the flight down, when he takes the mike out of you every time.
1935 ‘G. Ingram’ Cockney Cavalcade i. 14 He wouldn’t let Pancake ‘take the mike’ out of him.
1940 Notes & Queries 1 June 382/1 ‘Taking the mike out of’ anyone means pulling his leg, having a game with him.

Of course, take the piss could be older and unrecorded. It’s not a phrase that would make it into print in that earlier era.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 05 May 2018 06:21 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  3087
Joined  2007-01-30

That’s interesting. I’d completely forgotten taking the mike, it’s so rarely heard now. Taking the michael is another form.

The Word Histories site has found an earlier instance of taking the mike from the Gravesend and Dartford Reporter of Saturday 20th July 1901 in a report of a court case.

“ ..... he was cleaning his boots and said, “If you sit there taking the ‘mike’ out of me I will knock you to the ground.”

[ Edited: 05 May 2018 06:24 AM by aldiboronti ]
Profile
 
 
Posted: 07 May 2018 10:49 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
RankRankRank
Total Posts:  123
Joined  2007-04-19

“I just made it up as I went along,” he unclarified…

As an aside, this is the first time I can recall seeing unclarified used as a verb rather than an adjective. I think I like it. (I fully expect to be told that it’s been used by everyone from Chaucer to J. K. Rowling, and I’ve just missed or forgotten it.)

Profile
 
 
Posted: 07 May 2018 11:11 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
Avatar
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  1627
Joined  2007-03-21

the first time I can recall seeing unclarified used as a verb rather than an adjective

I think they just made that up as they went along.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 08 May 2018 07:54 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
RankRankRank
Total Posts:  123
Joined  2007-04-19
Oecolampadius - 07 May 2018 11:11 AM

I think they just made that up as they went along.

That may be the case, but I think it’s a useful (and in this case humorous) way to say “failed to clarify” or even “made less clear.” It sounds like the sort of thing that would be taught in law school.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 08 May 2018 01:42 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]
Avatar
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  1627
Joined  2007-03-21

That may be the case, but I think it’s a useful (and in this case humorous) way to say “failed to clarify” or even “made less clear.” It sounds like the sort of thing that would be taught in law school.

I have no doubt that they were being funny. It’s a construction made for the occasion. and is funny funny.

Profile
 
 
   
 
 
‹‹ Wide      Distinction by repetition ››