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blankety-blank See PROFANITY.
dickens See PROFANITY.
love-brat A child born out of wedlock; a bastard. This obsolete expression, the equivalent of the modern love-child, appeared in the 17th-century Old Chapbook:
Now by this four we plainly see Four love brats will be laid to thee: And she that draws the same shall wed
Two rich husbands, and both well bred.
pillars to the temple British slang for a woman’s legs. The sexual allusion in this coy euphemism is obvious.
pooper-scooper A shovellike device used to daintily pick up the feces of dogs or other pets. The expression, as well as the devices, has become especially popular since the mid-1970s when New York and other cities enacted laws requiring dog owners to clean up after their pets.
Sam Hill Hell. The person to whom this euphemistic expletive apparently refers is unknown. The Random House Dictionary suggests that Sam may be derived from salmon, a variation of Sal(o)mon ‘an oath,’ and that Hill may be a variation of hell The term usually appears in expressions like “What the …,” “Who the …,”etc.
He wondered who the Sam Hill the “senator” was. (Salt Lake [City, Utah] Tribune, December 18, 1948)
see a man about a dog To go to the men’s room; to go out for a drink; to visit a prostitute. This slang Americanism appears to have been coined in the mid-to-late 19th century as a Victorian euphemism to avoid direct reference to bodily functions or frowned-upon activities.
Although they were all out, at the bases, and the rest of our nine having gone to see a man, there was nobody to take the bat. (The Ball Players’ Chronicle, September 12, 1867)
The appearance in print of the inverted see a dog about a man and the variant see a man about a horse attests to the nonsensicalness of the original expression.
I’m in a rush—gotta see a dog about a man. (Chicago Tribune, March 21, 1948)
See a man about a dog is also used as an evasive response to almost any inconvenient or embarrassing question.
son of a gun An evil person, a miscreant; a rogue, scamp, or scalawag; any person; a disagreeable or odious task or other matter; as an interjection, an exclamation of surprise, disappointment, or dismay. It has been suggested that son of a gun originated during the 18th century when nonmilitary women were permitted to live aboard naval ships. When one of these women gave birth to a child without knowing which of the sailors had fathered it, the paternity was logged as “gun” and the child as “son of a gun,” alluding either to the sexual implications of gun or to the mid-ship gun which was located near the makeshift maternity room. In any case, the expression is a popular and somewhat less offensive alternative to son of a bitch, which also intimates that a person is of uncertain paternity and that his mother was less than virtuous. Over the years, however, both expressions have lost much of their derogatory connotations and are often applied in jocular and familiar contexts.