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School keeps
Posted: 24 September 2008 02:39 AM   [ Ignore ]
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Reading Keith Laumer again, one of my favourite SF writers when I was young. In Night of Delusions comes the following passage. I’ve bolded the phrase that puzzles me.

“Ready to give up?”, I said. “Before I change this dump into a Playboy club, complete with cold-blooded bunnies with armor-plated bosoms?”
“Y-you can’t!” His voice had now developed a quaver to go with the soprano pitch.
“I’m getting reckless, Diss. I don’t care if school keeps or not. I want to see something give at the seams.”

I thought at first that a word may have been omitted, but a quick google turns up this book title.

If School Keeps, Phil Stong. New York: Frederick A. Stokes Company, 1940

Is this then some Americanism with which I’m not familiar?

BTW for those who enjoy Laumer there’s a treasure trove of his works available free at Baen Free Library..

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Posted: 24 September 2008 03:23 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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MW3: “keep”, v.i.: //6 : to be or remain in session *school keeps five days a week*//

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Posted: 24 September 2008 03:31 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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Thank you, Douglas. The usage is unknown in the UK.

Ah yes, now I see that it’s in the OED too.

keep, v.

38, b. Of a school: to be held. U.S.

1845 Knickerbocker XXVI. 277 One afternoon, when ‘school didn’t keep’, some one got into the house. 1867 ‘T. LACKLAND’ Homespun I. 123 The District School has not ‘kept’ since the week began. 1908 M. E. FREEMAN Shoulders of Atlas 68 School ain’t going to keep today.

[ Edited: 24 September 2008 03:36 AM by aldiboronti ]
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Posted: 24 September 2008 05:17 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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I haven’t heard that usage before either.

Googling, it looks to me like it (possibly only?) exists in a set phrase… “I don’t care if school keeps or not”, “I don’t give a damn if school keeps or not”, “whether school keeps or not” etc. which is used in situations where no actual school is involved to mean something like “come hell or high water”.  Where’s that coming from I wonder?

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Posted: 24 September 2008 05:43 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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“come hell or high water”.  Where’s that coming from I wonder?

FTR, Quinon agrees with the theory that it comes from cattle driving days where the cattle men drove the cattle through “hell and high water.”
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Posted: 24 September 2008 06:57 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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Interesting—I hadn’t heard or seen this phrase, and I suspect the Laumer story is from the era when it was enjoying its last gasp.  (Although there may well be local pockets of dialectal usage.)

While we’re on the subject of hell, my wife was just asking me about “hell for leather,” and I had no answer for her; I see the Big List mentions it under “hellbent for leather” only to say it’s a different phrase.  Googling gets me this site, which says:

Hell for leather, in American vernacular, refers to an arduous walk that may have been strewn with difficulties and was a strain on footwear. A long and difficult walk, such as over rough terrain, might be referred to as hell for leather because of the abuse the leather footwear sustained during the walk.

On the other hand, Cassell says:

[the leather refers to the phr.’s origin in riding and refers to the harness]

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Posted: 24 September 2008 07:33 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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Oecolampadius - 24 September 2008 05:43 AM

“come hell or high water”.  Where’s that coming from I wonder?

FTR, Quinon agrees with the theory that it comes from cattle driving days where the cattle men drove the cattle through “hell and high water.”

You people have great futures in putting movie reviewer’s quotes into ads. (Reviewer: It was terrifically awful, I want to puke on it. Oeco’s ad: It was terrific - I want it. ) ;-)

I was asking where “school keeps or not” comes from.

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Posted: 24 September 2008 07:35 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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Two old discussion of “hell for leather”:
October ‘03

June ‘04

A problem with the “arduous walk, hard on shoe leather” explanation is that early uses are in reference to riding horseback, not walking.

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Posted: 24 September 2008 07:36 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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Now you see why I won’t give the philosopher’s name…

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Posted: 24 September 2008 08:05 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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NB I hadn’t seen your last post when I made mine.  And your original question was misleadingly phrased.

“I don’t care if...” phrases are sometimes difficult to analyze logically.  Cf. “I don’t care if it harelips the Governor” and so on.

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Posted: 24 September 2008 08:32 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
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Dr. Techie - 24 September 2008 08:05 AM

And your original question was misleadingly phrased.

It couldn’t possibly be that it was uncarefully read. ;-)

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Posted: 24 September 2008 10:28 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]
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It couldn’t possibly be that it was uncarefully read. ;-)

I read it the same way.  But I’m sure the problem is that everyone is a lousy reader, not that it was poorly phrased.

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Posted: 25 September 2008 07:38 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]
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I posted about this, asking if anyone knew/used the phrase; I’ll be curious to see the responses.

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Posted: 25 September 2008 09:23 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]
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Check out this timeline (from the LH thread)!

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Posted: 25 September 2008 09:24 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 14 ]
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Why didn’t that work?  I does in the LH thread.  Bah.

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Posted: 25 September 2008 10:16 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 15 ]
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As I’ve griped about before, the software this board runs on (I suppose Expression Engine is to blame) has a special URL-munging feature that crops up when certain special symbols (like percent signs) occur in a URL.  In this case, it converted all three percent signs to “&#x”.

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