golly bum

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golly bum

Post by Archived Topic » Fri Oct 08, 2004 4:05 pm

I am looking for the origin of the phrase golly bum
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golly bum

Post by Archived Reply » Fri Oct 08, 2004 4:20 pm

Pretty obscure!
It seems to be an expletive (swear-word) encountered mainly in the southern states of the USA.
Most dictionaries agree that 'golly' is an alteration of God (many common swear-words are such deformations). The 'bum' could be any of the various meanings of the word - a tramp, sub-standard, the buttocks, etc.
I found the term used in various Web sites, but no dictionary I saw mentioned it. Dates seem to indicate 20th century.
One interesting track might be a possible connection with 'golliwog' - the now non-PC child's doll - which was coined as a term by Bertha Upton, a late 19th century American writer. In view of racial/ist attitudes in the southern USA in the early 20th century, did golly-bum perhaps derive as an expletive from the toy - perhaps as a racially offensive insult?
The bottom line is that I don't really know - sorry!
Simple Simon - Belgium
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golly bum

Post by Archived Reply » Fri Oct 08, 2004 4:34 pm

.. in Aus you would hear "golly gum" (also it's sister "golly gosh")as a childish expression of surprise or a longer version "golly golly gumdrops" (or sometimes "goody goody gumdrops") which is an expression of delight about something that is going to happen .. have never heard the "bum" version ..
.. also of note is that "golly" on its own is Aussie slang for phlegm or the act of spitting .. eg "He gollied in the gutter and big wad of yellow golly landed with a splot."
Wizard of Oz, Australia. 31/10/03
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golly bum

Post by Archived Reply » Fri Oct 08, 2004 4:49 pm

Being from the southern US and having used the term all my life, I can tell only this: It is usually a term of disappointment. For example, if your favorite toad escaped from your bedroom and your mom squashed it with a rolling pin, you might say "Golly bum, Mom, that was Herbert, my favorite toad. Why'd you go an' squash him?" This being the case, possibly, it could be a cleaned-up version of "God's Arse" which would certainly get your mouth washed out with lye soap.
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