Saturday Morning Oys – June 18th, 2022

Thanks to Bill R, who says “It’s like they’re daring us to figure it out”. Which is why there is a CIDU category (“tag”) on this, along with the “(Not a CIDU)” for the OYs list in general. Look, don’t question it too hard. Oh, and it’s not a pun really, but gets an OY as a language-related item. Also this list was sitting bare too long …

The usage they’re disputing over was taught in my schooldays as one of “those common mistakes to be avoided”. 

OK, I think (but am not positive) that I get the alternate meaning the joke depends on — from too many crime shows, the best deals a defendant’s lawyer might hope to extract from a prosecutor would involve setting no additional jail time, so the defendant gets to “walk away” or “take a walk”.

First I thought the outside guy was wearing an odd bathrobe; but throw in his laurel wreath and I guess he is at a toga party. But not the inside guy. Oh well, it doesn’t seem to affect the joke.

Possible cross-comic banter, based on spelling of the name?


  1. I still DU the Barney & Clyde.

    Stephan Pastis is, indeed, known for doing many, many pun strips, but he never wears a suit since giving up lawyering.

  2. For B&C, “nauseous” is often used to mean “nauseated” — that is, feeling sick. But that’s not its original meaning. Sticklers like Horace’s lexicographer friend would only use it to mean “nauseating” — that is, inducing nausea.

    And apparently that’s enough to make it a joke in Horace’s view.

  3. I get the nauseous/nauseated thing, but then the last panel doesn’t add anything–surely it’s supposed to?

    The Louie Louie toga is, I’m pretty sure, just an Animal House/fraternity house reference.

  4. Phil Smith III, I understand your comment about the last panel of the Barney & Clyde. But maybe it just looks redundant to us because we already know the traditional meaning and how it was pushed. But for someone who thinks of it as meaning “nauseated” unproblematically, the 4th panel serves as a pointer to the “nauseating” meaning.

  5. Mitch4: Oh, he makes us feel nauseated because he never brushes his teeth or changes his clothes? OK, then I get it! I’m not laughing, but that may just be me. Thanks.

  6. On the Reaper comic, in reading the “No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency” books, set in Botswana, “late” is a euphemism for dead. As in “No, John can’t come to visit. He is late.”

  7. In the original comments I posted the bit from Hitchiker’s Guide:

    Slartibartfast: You must come with me or you will be late!
    Arthur Dent: Late? What for?
    Slartibartfast: What is your name, human?
    Arthur Dent: Dent, Arthur Dent.
    Slartibartfast: Late as in the late Dent Arthur Dent. It’s a sort of threat, you see.

  8. There’s a short poem – I thought by Ogden Nash, but I’m not finding it.

    Nauseous and nauseated
    Are not the same, by far
    If someone moans “I’m nauseous!”
    Reply “You surely are!”

  9. Well, there are a lot of words that had different meanings three hundred years ago.

    “I doubt that you will fail” was not very hopeful, because “doubt” meant “fear.”

    “I like to watch” was not as creepy, because “watch” just meant “stay awake late” which is what a watchman did, or the watch on a ship.

  10. There’s a legend about Christopher Wren’s St Paul’s Cathedral, where a monarch is supposed to have called It “Amusing, Awful, and Artificial”, and meant nothing but compliments. That’s due to a shift meaning of those words so at the time amusing meant amazing, awful meant awe-inspiring, and artificial meant artistic.

    Quote Investigator looked into it:

  11. It’s nice that the monarch condescended to Christopher Wren.

    Wait, what?

    Normally, if you’re a commoner, you never speak to a king and a king never speaks to you.But sometimes the king just wants to be like President Obama sharing a beer on the White House lawn with an ordinary person. King George admired Samuel Johnson’s writing so much that he invited him over to the palace for a chat. They had a good time and Johnson was glad the king condescended to him. All it meant at that time was that the upper-class person treated the non-upper-class person as an equal, bringing himself down to Johnson’s level.

    Now that we are all equal, “condescend” means to put yourself at a higher level so you can talk down to someone.

  12. There are commoners, then there are commoners. Wren was one of the most famous architects of his time and carried many honors and associations.

  13. Mark H. – “late” has meant “dead” for as long as I can remember – or at least back to elementary school age.

    As far as words changing meaning – I posted somewhere – sometime ago – and do not know if it was here – awful today means something bad. Originally it meant that the person was was “ful of awe” – related to God.

    Going back and forth in life between today and late 18th century English a lot of words have changed their meaning.

    A dollar back then was a Spanish coin. When one got change back then the coin would be cut down and the correct amount of the coin would be handed back to one. if one gave a dollar or thaler or pound or Louis (all accepted in the colonies despite their varying countries of origin – value compared to the pound determined from a chart) the coin would be cut down to half or quarter or eighths.

    A mistress would be the female head of the household. A petticoat is what we call a skirt today. A skirt back then was a part of a garment which stuck out a bit around the waist – think Shakespearean costumes and the fabric which sticks out around a man’s waist from his clothing.

    A maid would be any young, unmarried woman – who may or may not be employed in cleaning.

    The master was head of the establishment whether he was “master of the house” or the owner/head of a craft business or shop.

    (Have not done a reenactment in so long that other words are not coming.)

    On the other hand – “Pieces of eight” were called same as they were marked with where to cut for same. Eighths of a coin were called “bits” – hence a US quarter today is 2 bits. Coins were worth the value of the precious metal in them – not a set value.

  14. Meryl says Mark H. – “late” has meant “dead” for as long as I can remember – or at least back to elementary school age.

    That was indeed also my first reaction to that discussion.
    However, that leaves out matters of word order and grammatical function. That use of ‘late’ for ‘dead’ was familiar to me only when ‘late’ was an adjective coming right before the noun it modifies — as in The late Mr Dent. In other positions, such as predicate adjective, it had to take the other main meaning, of delayed for an appointment or at an advanced time of day.

    So what was surprising about the bits quoted by Mark H and Brian in STL was the combination of predicate adjective position with the meaning ‘dead’. “You must come with me or you will be late!” reads first off as the ordinary meaning of ‘delayed’ (and thus the reply “Late? What for?”); and the reveal that it can mean ‘dead’ even in this position is what makes that passage surprising or even a joke … as also with the Non Sequitur cartoon.

  15. Does the MP Parrot sketch include “This parrot is late!”? Or only “This is a late parrot!”?

  16. “I see by your dress, sir, that you are a cowboy.”

    There’s another word that has changed its meaning recently. Have you ever seen a cowboy wearing a dress?

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