piss-take / pisstake

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piss-take / pisstake

Post by Ken Greenwald » Thu May 16, 2013 11:01 pm

aaa
<2008 “After that, when I had to meet her at the Cosmopolitan for coffee—brief, correct, the pair of us brittle as icicles—I wore a pair of gloves from the Salvos [[Salvation Army]] as a sort of piss-take.”—People of the Book by Geraldine Brooks, page 5>
PISS-TAKE / PISSTAKE noun colloquial (chiefly Britain, Australia, and New Zealand) [1975]: An attempt to make someone or something seem silly; something that is done to tease or make fun of someone or something; an act of copying someone else's behavior and manner in a humorous way; an amusing imitation a parody; lampoon.

Etymology: From the phrase take the piss.

TAKE THE PISS (chiefly Britain, Australia, and New Zealand; very informal) [1945]:

1) To make a joke about someone or to make someone look silly (often + out of ); to tease, especially aggressively; to make fun of, to mock, deride, satirize. <They're always taking the piss out of her because she's a Barry Manilow fan.> <“You should wear miniskirts more often - you've got the legs for them.” “Are you taking the piss?”> [[Where this ‘piss’ [as in ‘take the piss (out of)’] may be the one used in the expression piss and vinegar [1920s and still in use]: Energy, enthusiasm, cheekiness.]]

2) To treat someone badly in order to get what you want. <Four pounds an hour is taking the piss.> <£50 for that old thing? That's just taking the piss.> [[Note: This second definition does not refer to the etymology of piss-take.]]

(Oxford English Dictionary, Macmillan Dictionary, Collins English Dictionary, Oxford Dictionary of Slang, Cassell’s Dictionary of Slang, and Cambridge Idioms Dictionary)

The following quotes are from the Oxford English Dictionary and archived sources:
<1975 “It was a total piss-take—the end.”—Theatre Quartterly, March–May, page 18/1>

<1988 “The television show was becoming popular, the characters of the presenters began to emerge and the whole thing was ripe for a piss-take.”—Advertiser (Nexus) (Adelaide, SA, Australia), 28 January>

<1994 “Yes, it's ‘radio's first ever TV style mini-series’ and it's all parody and piss take, of course. . .”—The Independent (London), 18 November>

<2000 “Part piss-take, part serious attempt to understand human behaviour, dice theory was born in the late sixties.”—Level, November, Page 104/1>

<2005 “Martin Creed's visual arts installation The Lights Off - three empty, dark rooms - symbolised the extremes of this debate. A cynical piss-take or a work of epiphanic beauty? Creed is only the most current provocateur.”—The Age (Melbourne, Australia), 24 October> [[My showing Lights On - three packed, brightly lit rooms - hasn’t drawn much of a crowd despite its epiphanic ugliness.]]

<2009 “What it started out as was a good-natured pisstake of cultural sensibilities . . .”—New Zealand Herald (Auckland), 6 March>

<2013 “This is sketch comedy with a stronger and better-constructed sense of purpose than I'm used to and I laughed out loud at the sheer absurdity. It pokes fun at bad tattoos and a miniature Eddie Vedder, and the piss-take of Pearl Jam's moody rock is hilarious.”—Sydney Morning Herald (Australia), 23 April>
____________________

Ken G – May 16, 2013 (Who once took a piss-take by miss-take.)
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Re: piss-take / pisstake

Post by Erik_Kowal » Fri May 17, 2013 12:41 am

There exists also the fairly common British expression extract the urine, a pseudo-humorous play on take the piss which emphasizes the excretory connotations of piss and in so doing quite eliminates the sense of 'energy, enthusiasm or cheekiness'.

I must confess that I've never interpreted take the piss as having a particular connection with piss and vinegar. To me it's always felt like an illogical, albeit popular, idiom.
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Re: piss-take / pisstake

Post by Ken Greenwald » Fri May 17, 2013 5:52 am

aaa
Erik, When I wrote my ‘piss and vinegar’ comment I had in mind the common form ‘take the piss (out of),’ to make a joke about someone or to make someone look silly,’ which evokes the idea of deflating someone and thus to take the ‘energy, enthusiasm, cheekiness’ – the piss and vinegar – out of someone.

Is it time for a stretch or have I already had mine? (<:)
__________________

Ken – May 16, 2013
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Re: piss-take / pisstake

Post by Erik_Kowal » Fri May 17, 2013 7:18 am

Thanks for that, Ken. I see what you're getting at.

Probably it's the fact that I only encountered piss and vinegar many years after I first became acquainted with piss that the 'energy, enthusiasm or cheekiness' aspect seems so secondary.
Ken Greenwald wrote:My showing Lights On - three packed, brightly lit rooms - hasn’t drawn much of a crowd despite its epiphanic ugliness.
I have only two words for you regarding this: better marketing!

All those TV 'reality' shows devoted to the exploits of hoarders and victims of plastic-surgery-gone-wrong indicate there's a big audience out there that is quite fascinated by epiphanic ugliness (a great descriptive phrase, by the way). ;-)

In passing, I should also note that extract the urine has an equally arch first cousin in the form of extract the Michael (for 'take the mickey'). To my mind, these idioms tend to be recited ad nauseam by people without an original sense of humour who are striving to be funny in the most pathetic way they can possibly think of.
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Re: piss-take / pisstake

Post by Edwin F Ashworth » Fri May 17, 2013 8:22 am

Yes - being catheterised isn't funny in the least.
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Re: piss-take / pisstake

Post by Erik_Kowal » Fri May 17, 2013 1:01 pm

Is that one of your typical ex-catheter pronouncements?
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Re: piss-take / pisstake

Post by Edwin F Ashworth » Fri May 17, 2013 5:14 pm

Merely a small sample.
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Re: piss-take / pisstake

Post by trolley » Fri May 17, 2013 8:44 pm

urine your cups?
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Re: piss-take / pisstake

Post by Wizard of Oz » Sat May 18, 2013 4:29 am

.. funny Ken when you first put up ..pisstake I would've been prepared to say, Not in Aus mate! .. but then you have a few quotes .. maybe it's a southern state thing .. I use the other idiom, viz take/taking the piss quite freely .. Ken there is also all piss and wind meaning somebody who lacks substance but makes a lot of noise ..

.. and Erik there is also extract the digit for those who like to sound posh ..

WoZ taking the vinegar .. and olive oil ..
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Signature: "The question is," said Alice, "whether you can make words mean so many different things."

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