coon's age

Discuss word origins and meanings.

coon's age

Post by nettie » Mon Apr 09, 2007 7:54 pm

Have heard the term coons age in reference to not having seen something or someone in a long time. Do racoons live for a long time or is this slang for something else?
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coon's age

Post by JANE DOErell » Mon Apr 09, 2007 8:46 pm

On forums such as this one it is suggested that there is an older UK experession "in a cows [ed-crow's] age". In any even raccoons don't live very long, they are rather accident prone for one thing.

ed - [Some Google sites suggest that "coon's age" may be raciest. I wouldn't be surprised if this were not at least part of the story.]
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coon's age

Post by hsargent » Tue Apr 10, 2007 1:43 pm

I've had enough with Imus issues this morning.

There is nothing raceist about coon's age!
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coon's age

Post by Bobinwales » Tue Apr 10, 2007 1:52 pm

Sorry Harry, "Imus issues"? I don't know the expression and Googling didn't help.
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coon's age

Post by Wizard of Oz » Tue Apr 10, 2007 2:31 pm

.. Downunder we would be likely to say that we haven't seen you for donkey's years .. again I don't know that donkey's are particularly long lived however in Brewer's Dictionary of Phrase & Fable it is suggested ..
Donkey's years. The expression probably derives from the pronunciation of ears as years, helped by an association with the length of a donkey's ears. Donkeys can also live to a great age.
.. but that doesn't really help with coon's age however if you go here to Phrase Finder or Words to the Wise there is a whole lot more including some observations on the ealy uses of coon and whether it relates in a racist way to this idiom ..

WoZ of Aus 10/04/07

PS .. harry I'm with you on this one !!
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coon's age

Post by hsargent » Tue Apr 10, 2007 3:32 pm

Imus is a National (American) Radio Commentator who made the mistake of referring to a College girls (mostly Black) basketball team as Nabby Hos.

It is the big news in US this week and Imus has been apoligizing excessively and the Black National Commentator Preachers have been calling for his firing.

You are lucky to be missing this diatribe!
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coon's age

Post by Bobinwales » Tue Apr 10, 2007 3:58 pm

Thank you Harry.

I have to say that not for one moment would I want to prolong the agony which I can see you are suffering, but I simply do not understand "nappy-headed hos", or "Nabby Hos", neither phrase means anything to me whatsoever. I gather that there is some abominable insult here but...
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coon's age

Post by JANE DOErell » Tue Apr 10, 2007 5:12 pm

"ho", short for 'whore' is widely used in current music an comedy. It is in a dictionary of UK slang found via onelook.

"Nappy, meaning kinky, is in Webesters online. The use of nappy to refer to the hair of Blacks may be a US usage.

Both are deemed by the PC advocates to be quite insulting but the use "ho" is especially widespread in US. I should think that only musicians and some comedians can get by unscathed by using "nappy" on US TV.

Imus is a US "shock jock" and uses a lot of this sort of language on his radio talk-show. The recent incident just precipitated an unusual volumn of protestation.
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coon's age

Post by nettie » Tue Apr 10, 2007 10:53 pm

Apparently racoons are not as accident prone as thought-a lifespan of 14 years isn't too bad. Now if the phrase was a oppossums age we would have a problem. Thanks for the link, it did at least clear up that it is not racist, though I didn't even think of that originally,and that basically no one is sure of its origan.
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coon's age

Post by Bobinwales » Wed Apr 11, 2007 8:40 am

Many thanks Jane. I admit I made the grave mistake of only googling. But having said that, "ho" is certainly not in general use in the UK, and a nappy is what you put on a baby's bottom.
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coon's age

Post by gdwdwrkr » Wed Apr 11, 2007 11:34 am

So, Bob, how about a good, politically incorrect translation?
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coon's age

Post by Bobinwales » Wed Apr 11, 2007 12:06 pm

The PC version could be:

"Chortle like people with daipers on their heads"?

As the Jolly Green Giant said, "Ho ho ho"
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coon's age

Post by gdwdwrkr » Wed Apr 11, 2007 12:09 pm

ho P L
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coon's age

Post by nettie » Wed Apr 11, 2007 4:33 pm

From coons age to ho isn't the giant leap one would think what with the Imus mess and everyone their brother jumping in to enlighten us with their perspective. Both make valid points while both make absurd points also. I think the issue is what one makes of it-but if one does not mean their comments to be offensive, and you know people will be offended, how about just not saying it. Freedom of speach aside, how about some basic humanity. On a lighter note I have had some personal expierence with the ho word in question. The children our school are required to take timed reading tests periodically. The students read a passege and the teacher records how many words are read per minute. With only 60 seconds to read any stumbling or pausing wastes precious seconds. So where am I going with this? In the latest passage the word hoe is used in a passage about gardening-almost every student I tested came to that word, stopped, looked at me with that---does that say what I think it says expression-until I said it for them so that they could go on reading. I guess what I am saying is it seems like we are wasting time and energy on words that shouldn't matter.
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coon's age

Post by nettie » Wed Apr 11, 2007 4:35 pm

P.S. I forgot to mention that the children in question are seven and eight years old.
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