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What the little bird shot at and missed meaning and origin

Posted: Thu Mar 25, 2004 4:22 am
by Archived Topic
Pete V Ca USA
Submitted by ( - )

What the little bird shot at and missed meaning and origin

Posted: Thu Mar 25, 2004 4:37 am
by Archived Reply
Contextless queries like this one have little chance of being answered.
Reply from Erik Kowal (Reading - England)

What the little bird shot at and missed meaning and origin

Posted: Thu Mar 25, 2004 4:51 am
by Archived Reply
Perhaps a more correct version of this is "What the little BOY shot at and missed". You can figure that out for yourself.
Reply from Charles Becker (Murray KY - U.S.A.)

What the little bird shot at and missed meaning and origin

Posted: Thu Mar 25, 2004 5:05 am
by Archived Reply
An old military saying is: "I've been shot at and missed and pissed at and hit!" I believe it connotes that military folk are more likely to be pissed on than shot.
Reply from Leif Thorvaldson (Eatonville - U.S.A.)

What the little bird shot at and missed meaning and origin

Posted: Thu Mar 25, 2004 5:20 am
by Archived Reply
My late father would sometimes use the expression "What the little boy shot at", as a long ways of saying "nothing". I don't know the origen.
Reply from ( - )

What the little bird shot at and missed meaning and origin

Posted: Thu Mar 25, 2004 5:34 am
by Archived Reply
I should have signed the above.
Robert Meade, Ridgecrest, CA
Reply from ( - )

Re: What the little bird shot at and missed meaning and origin

Posted: Tue Dec 04, 2018 7:42 pm
by dustov
This thread has been inactive since 2004! But I was searching for that phrase because my Dad use to say that to my sister and myself when we were kids and, as kids do, would say we want this or that toy or thing. And his response would often be this phrase. I just shook my head looked at him in puzzlement and just dismissed this utterance as just my corny Dad saying something stupid. Eventually I became annoyed enough to respond and said, Hey, why do you say that, it does not mean anything! Little birds or any birds for that matter cannot shoot at anything! His response was, "you are correct, birds do not shoot at anything and that is what you are going to get..... nothing!" Since other people have asked about the phrase it means he did not just make it up. But there is no answer here as to origins and this site is the only result from a Google search of the phrase. Has anyone else ever heard of this phrase or know anything about its origins?

Re: What the little bird shot at and missed meaning and origin

Posted: Tue Dec 04, 2018 8:44 pm
by trolley
It's new, to me. Precious few hits for "what the bird shot" but there is a bit more action on "what the boy (or Paddy) shot". It does seem to mean nothing (or nothing of any value) but there is no explanation of why. I've played a lot of cribbage and never heard "what Paddy shot" as another term for a "nineteen hand"
http://www.worldwidewords.org/qa/qa-wha1.htm

Re: What the little bird shot at and missed meaning and origin

Posted: Thu Dec 06, 2018 11:03 pm
by Phil White
dustov wrote:
Tue Dec 04, 2018 7:42 pm
... birds do not shoot at anything ...
Except, of course, sparrows, but they do not miss:
Who killed Cock Robin?
I, said the Sparrow,
with my bow and arrow,
I killed Cock Robin.