#Idiom: As all get out

My first blog post about an idiom was on January 25, 2021. It was #Idioms: Reading the Riot Act. Today’s blog post is about the idiom “as all get out.” It’s an expression I don’t hear as much as I used to.

When was it first used?

Other people have researched this, and I’ll rely on their findings. It appears that the expression

“as get out” was first used by American writer Joseph C. Neal in his Character Sketches in 1838.

In that piece, he wrote, “We look as elegant and as beautiful as get out.”

“As get out” sounds odd today because we know the expression as “as all get out.” Without the “all,” it just sounds strange. Or, perhaps you’ve never heard the expression before, so it sounds strange to you either way.

What does it mean?

The idiom “as all get out” is used to describe something taken to it’s extreme.

When it became “as all get out”

Credit goes to American author Mark Twain for adding the word “all” to the expression. In the 38th chapter of Huckleberry Finn, Huck, Tom Sawyer, and Jim are working on a coat-of-arms. Tom says to Huck, “We got to dig in like all git-out.” Of course, Twain wrote in dialect in that novel.

It would be interesting to know if Twain coined the new phrase. Perhaps people were already saying, “All get out” and Twain just incorporated it into his writing in 1884.

Some examples of how the idiom is used

It was cold as all get out.

Photo credit: Kelly Sikkema on unsplash.com

The track stars ran fast as all get out.

Photo credit: Jonathan Chng on unsplash.com

The red velvet cake was good as all get out.

Photo credit: Estefania Escalante Fernandez on unsplash.com

As language loses its color

As I commented at the beginning of this blog post, I don’t hear “all get out” as much as I used to. I’m afraid English becomes a less colorful language as we lose such expressions. That’s why I chose “all get out” for my topic today.

Is “all get out” an expression you’re familiar with? Is it an idiom that’s used all across the United States? Have those of you who live in other English-speaking countries heard this expression?

Since my last blog post

It looks and feels more like spring by the day, but there’s a possible hard freeze in the weather prediction for later in the week. That will be a shame, since my peonies have sprouted and the blueberry bushes are in bloom. It’s my favorite time of the year.

I stirred up a bit of a hornet’s nest on Facebook by posting a meme I borrowed from someone else. It is about the gun problem we have here in the United States. Just by saying “gun problem,” I’ve probably offended some people. I don’t know what else to call it. One of my high school classmates and a fellow church member have responded by educating me about the intricacies of firearms and gun registration.

At first, I was taken aback and wished I hadn’t posted the meme, but as days passed and I reflected on the issue and got deeper into the discussion I was glad I’d done it. Without being my intention, it has turned into “that difficult conversation” Janet Givens’ Zoom discussion group is addressing this year in monthly meetings. The basis for our meetings is Ms. Givens’ book, LEAPFROG:  How to Hold a Civil Conversation in an Uncivil Era.

How do you have “that difficult conversation” with someone with whom your opinion or world view differs greatly? How do you have “that difficult conversation” with someone when you suddenly find yourself in the middle of a discussion that you and the other party or parties maybe weren’t in the best mood to have?

People rarely react to anything I put on Facebook, so it was shocking when this particular meme created as much discussion as it has continued to have since I posted it on Thursday. Lessons I’ve learned: Fact check memes before you post them, and don’t post anything controversial unless you’re ready to defend your viewpoint and calmly listen to the viewpoints of others.

I returned to church yesterday for the first time in 14 months. It felt great going back into the sanctuary in which I’ve worshipped my entire life and in which my ancestors have worshipped since 1861, and it brought tears to my eyes.

Until my next blog post

I hope you have at least one good book to read this week. As usual, I’m reading several at the same time. My mood and library due dates determine which one I pick up.

I hope you have time to follow your passion this week and spend some relaxing time on a hobby.

It’s now been more than two weeks since I got my second Covid-19 vaccination. I look forward to getting out in public more than I have in the last 14 months.

Note: Get ready for April. It’s D.E.A.R. Month (Drop Everything and Read Month), so let’s all give it our best shot starting on Thursday!


26 thoughts on “#Idiom: As all get out

  1. Janet this time you got me as I had never heard that expression before in all the years I lived in the US both in the North and in the South (well I guess Miami is south geographically only. 🙂 ). But I have learned something new and for that I am grateful. And yes, I think there is a terrible gun problem in the US. I, as a former LEO (in the US) believe in the right to carry firearms but by people qualified, trained and vetted, not by anyone. Just like you must pass a test and get a permit to drive and keep it current, so should it be with something as dangerous as a weapon. And military weapons, assault rifles and any other firearms of higher calibres should be banned to civilians. Those are the weapons of war and of law enforcement and should be out of the hands of untrained people. Another great post Janet, that makes people think and opine honestly and clearly. I hope you enjoy a lovely spring and a safe, gun-free, COVID-free environment. All the best,

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Always enjoyable to hear from you, Francisco. Thanks for weighing in about “as all get out.” LOL! I love it when I hit on something that’s new for someone else. That rarely happens… LOL. I truly appreciate your perspective as a former LEO in the US – and former member of the military. I’m being inundated by comments on Facebook by a couple of gun lovers who feel compelled to educate me about weapons. Try as they may, they will not convince me that semi-automatic weapons are a good thing in the hands of civilians. I will never convince them that it is a bad thing, but at least we’re having a discussion. Perhaps something good will come from it. I can only hope that’s the case. In the meantime, I live in a safe, gun-free environment — and so far, COVID-free. It was a joy yesterday to feel safe to put on my mask and return to worship in person at the church where I’m a member! I’ve always attended church regularly and actively participated in church activities, so not being able to be there for 14 months has been difficult for me. I hope the vaccine becomes available to you very soon. Take care, Janet.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I am so glad to hear that Janet, that you are back and active in your church, it’s very important. I am fine, still cold but March is a crazy weather month in this part of the world. Europe has really fallen behind in the vaccination plan but I think we’re getting back on track, at least that’s what the EU says…always a pleasure hearing from you and reading your posts Janet, take good care and all the best,

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Thank you, Francisco. Without President Biden taking office in January, I think Americans would still be waiting for the vaccines to be distributed. The former occupant of the White House had no plans for distribution.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Yes, it was very fortunate for the US and for the world that Biden won. We are also very happy about that over here Janet.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I hadn’t even realized “as all get out” had left my vocabulary. I love when I say things like that and my grandkids look at me like I’m nuts. I tell them it’s an old saying and they turn their heads. As for the gun meme, that’s what I like about you, you are never afraid to speak your mind! As wonderful as it is to go back to church, wasn’t it strange. We have to make a reservation for a seat, everyone sits apart and no singing is the part I have trouble with. However, I know it is the right way to do it for now.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Thank you, Diane. I’ll be a little more cautious about what I put on Facebook for a little while. The reactions to the gun meme have been quite time-consuming and a bit stressful. Since that’s what you like about me, though, I’ll take your words as encouragement to jump back into the fray on things I feel strongly about. Thank you! As for going back to church, yes it was quite different from what we’re used to. We have a large enough sanctuary and a small enough congregation that we don’t have to make reservations. They have every other pew marked off and no congregational singing. Like you, I do miss the singing of hymns. There’s special music or a solo every Sunday, and our handbell choir has been working extra hard to be ready to perform more often than their usual. We have always been a hugging congregation, so that is sorely missed. We stand around out front after worship and enjoy talking with one another. That’s harder to do while masked and maintaining social distancing. It’s a whole different atmosphere. I’ll be so happy when/if we get to resume hymn singing, heartily welcoming visitors, and hugging our friends.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I forgot to comment about “as all get out.” I was thrilled to see that you knew the saying. I love how you expressed that you hadn’t realized it had “left” your vocabulary. That’s a great way to say it. I imagine you’ll be looking for ways to work it into your conversations now that I’ve refreshed your memory.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. We wordsmiths must stick together, Katherine! I’m intrigued by language and accents. All my known immigrant ancestors came to America from Scotland in the 1700s, so why is it I don’t speak with a Scottish accent? I have too many questions and too few answers.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I am a Celt too!My accent is Machester but lots of people think I am a foreigner! I had soe students from Brunei once and they refused to believe I was British.You are too warm, they said.So I said I was Irish!!

    Liked by 1 person

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