Clawdy meaning

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Clawdy meaning

Post by Lily801 » Sun Apr 18, 2010 8:48 pm

Hi!
It's the first time I write.

I'm hearing an Elvis's song called 'Lawdy Miss Clawdy'. I read in this forum that: < 'Lawdy Miss Clawdy' was a phrase everybody in New Orleans used>. The meaning of Lawdy is Lordy, but, Someone could say me what is the meaning of "Clawdy", please?

Thanks!!
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Re: Clawdy meaning

Post by Ken Greenwald » Mon Apr 19, 2010 7:15 am

Carrie (a.k.a. Lily), I don’t think there is any particular significance to Miss Clawdy, other than it rhymes with ‘lawdy,’ which is an alternate form for ‘lordy,’ which according to Cassell’s Dictionary of Slang is an originally U.S. mild exclamation from the mid-19th century and still in use (lawdy!=lordy! from Standard English ‘Lord’).

And chances are Clawdy was used as a variation of Claudy, which itself was a shortened variation of Claudia. Another reason we may have Clawdy instead of Claudy could be for nothing more profound then that the powers that be thought that the two W's of lawdy/clawdy formed a catchy matching visual when seen in print on their record labels.

Lawdy Miss Clawdy is akin to “Mary, Mary quite contrary.” Why Mary? Possibly for no other reason that it rhymes with contrary.

Looks like the 1950s had a weakness for rhyming titles:

Lawdy Miss Clawdy (1952) by Lloyd Price

Dizzy Miss Lizzie (1958) by Larry William

Good Golly Miss Molly (1958) by Little Richard
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Note: What Cassell’s calls a mild exclamation here is called a ‘minced oath’ when it is an expression that substitutes some mild/inoffensive word as a substitute for God, Lord, Jesus, etc. If you do a search on ‘minced oath’ using the ‘Search Wizard’ (see top of the page) you will find many examples.
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Ken G – April 18, 2010
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Re: Clawdy meaning

Post by Lily801 » Mon Apr 19, 2010 10:19 am

Thanks! Great response!!
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Re: Clawdy meaning

Post by Edwin F Ashworth » Thu Apr 22, 2010 9:10 am

At http://www.digitalspy.co.uk/forums/show ... ht=Boutros there is a series of names-that-rhyme.
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Re: Clawdy meaning

Post by Garanhir » Sat Apr 24, 2010 12:31 pm

Hi Lily, Hi Ken,

It's 2 years since I was here, and this happened to be the first thread that caught my eye.

I agree completely with Ken about Miss Claudy, but I think he's wrong to say:

Lawdy Miss Clawdy is akin to “Mary, Mary quite contrary.” Why Mary? Possibly for no other reason that it rhymes with contrary.

Mary in this old nursery rhyme is almost certainly Mary I of England, 1516-1558, and the various odd items referred to in the rhyme are probably instruments of torture as applied to Catholics during her Lord Chancellor's purges.

My reference for this is Pop goes the Weasel - the secret meanings of nursery rhymes by Albert Jack, Allen Lane 2008. The book goes into detail about the whole rhyme and its probable origins.

It seems from the book that the vast majority of our apparently amusing or trivial rhymes are based in some gruesome and despicable historical fact.

Language, as ever, serves both to preserve and to obfuscate the truth!

Best,
Garanhir.
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Re: Clawdy meaning

Post by Wizard of Oz » Sun Apr 25, 2010 11:44 am

.. Garanhir it is true that many nursery rhymes do have sinister and goulish beginnings but just as many are the earliest examples of folk etymology created many years after the event by writers with a religious or political agenda .. it is documented that the earliest examples of the rhyme, Mary Mary ..... date from the 18th century .. however that is not to say that it isn't, as was popularly done, a felk on an earlier rhyme .. however even here it depends upon which side of the religious fence you were saying your prayers .. the Catholics feel that it is a lament for the persecution of the Roman Church whilst Protestant writers say it is a lament at the reinstatement of the Roman Church .. Mary Queen of Scots is polularly held to be the Mary in question ..

.. depending upon which side you blessed yourself the various components have been seen as >>

the bells = the sanctus bells
the cockleshells = the badges of the pilgrims, or = the decoratons on a dress given to Mary by the Dauphin of France
the pretty maids = the nuns rank behind rank at office, or = Mary's ladies-in-waiting, the renowned "Four Marys" ..

.. of course there is also the documented possibility .. *gasp* .. that the whole rhyme is nothing more sinister than the old custom of hanging silver bells in the trees in the garden and earlier versions of the rhyme had the last line as >> And cowslips/lady bells/columbines all in a row. ..

.. and then there is the ribald version from 1651 which ends .. Sing cuckolds all in a row.

Source: Oxford Dictionary of Nursery Rhymes, I & P Opie & The Annotated Mother Goose, W &C Baring-Gould.

WoZ looking for pretty maids all in a row
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Re: Clawdy meaning

Post by martin » Wed Jan 07, 2015 7:01 pm

There is a movie, This Property is Condemned, based on a play by Tenesee Williams, which takes place in the South during the Depression that uses that term - so I suspect that it was not originally from the song; rather the song's use came from an earlier American colloquialism.
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Re: Clawdy meaning

Post by Wizard of Oz » Thu Jan 08, 2015 1:48 am

.. Martin that is a very good find .. I strongly support the idea that many expressions that finally find their way into songs, plays, books, poems etc are taken from expressions already in wide use in the community .. I believe that many of our "famous" authors/playwrights etc get credit not deserved for coining an expression or word .. as wordsmiths they are a product of their community .. they write down what is already being said ..

.. however I think there may be more research needed to firmly establish that TW was using the expression in historical context and just not wanting to use a popular expression that the average reader would just accept as having been around for a long time or to add a Southern flavour .. I can certainly see that the average person is capable of using assonance even if they are unaware of its technical use and so the particular expression may have been a popular slang term ..

Wood Wolly Mr WoZ
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Signature: "The question is," said Alice, "whether you can make words mean so many different things."

Re: Clawdy meaning

Post by CrazyRom » Thu Jan 15, 2015 8:29 pm

I always liked this Elvis song and I was wonder what does it mean, glad I came on this forum:)
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