Here's kiwi in your eye

Discuss word origins and meanings.
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Here's kiwi in your eye

Post by Neil Shaddick » Fri Jun 06, 2014 12:59 am

In the last episode of the immortal 'Cheers' repeated here on NZ TV last night, Frasier Crane wishes Sam good luck for the future by saying "here's kiwi in your eye". Well, as you can imagine, here in 'kiwiland' we fell off our chairs. Of course, we know what it means - we would say 'here's mud in your eye'. But kiwi? OED does not list it. A google search shows up only an American mum's family blog which, lovely though it is, does not elucidate on this singular expression. So once again Wordwizards, what's the answer? What's the origin of kiwi in your eye? When did it replace mud? I know you eat kiwifruit (formerly known as the Chinese gooseberry) because it's a regular source of hilarity here in NZ what you have to pay for one in a US supermarket. But when did you start wishing it in people's eyes instead of putting it in their fruit salad?
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Re: Here's kiwi in your eye

Post by trolley » Fri Jun 06, 2014 2:35 am

Neil, I suspect that you witnessed the origin of the expression “kiwi in your eye” when you watched that final “Cheers” episode. It hasn’t replaced mud and I’d be surprised if it was ever used by anyone again after that show. At the end of that series, Sam was reuniting with Dianne and they were leaving Boston to start their new life together in California. Sam was going to work in a juice-bar. Juice-bars were all the rage in southern California at that time and so was kiwi-fruit. Commercial production of kiwi had just started (in California) in the mid-seventies and was really beginning to take off. Kiwi juice was pretty popular and was being touted as the next great thing with all the anti-oxidants and vitamins. I think that’s the connection. Not very exciting, and could have just as easily been “here’s wheatgrass in your eye”. Maybe the writers just thought “kiwi” sounded funnier. It was probably still a little unfamiliar to a lot of North Americans in the early nineties.
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Re: Here's kiwi in your eye

Post by Bobinwales » Sun Jun 08, 2014 1:23 pm

Well done John. I couldn't have helped with that one. I must have seen at least, oh 2 episodes of Cheers.
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Re: Here's kiwi in your eye

Post by Ken Greenwald » Thu Jun 12, 2014 6:06 am

aaa

Bob, I’m one up on you! I’ve never seen an episode of Cheers.

Gentlemen, I don’t have a whole lot to add and what I do have is probably worth less than the proverbial two cents (but I’m being too genereous). In addition, the obscurity of the expression is such that I count myself as one among untold millions who have never seen nor heard it. And it’s not easy to find an expression for which Google comes up with only 4 hits, not including this one. I would therefore deem it appropriate to classify this as a study in “extreme trivia.” But we’ve been there many times before!

I think Trolley has already hit the nail on the head: the expression was born and has done a good imitation of death since it first appeared on the last episode of the TV show Cheers.

Here is a crucial hit from a website script of that last episode, but I can’t vouch for its accuracy:
<1993 “FRAISER: I had no idea you had such exciting prospects. By all means go for it, Sam! Here’s kiwi in your eye! SAM: . . . You know? It’s time for me to move on, you know. Face new challenges and-and Diane said she’d get me a job at the juice bar in her health club.”— Cheers Episode Scripts, Season 11, 266 – ‘The Guy Can’t Help It.’>

So, right out of the gate we’ve got an inconsistency. Wikipedia provides a different date and a different name for this last episode: The above source lists it as ‘The Guy Can’t help it,’ Season 11, episode 266, November 25, 1993, whereas Wikipedia calls it ‘One for the Road,’ season 11, episode 271, May 20, 1993.

And for some live action, here is a TV news clip of Fraiser uttering the fateful words:
<2012 (See here (click on the 1993 clip) for “Here’s kiwi in you eye!”—TV News Archive: CBS This Morning , 12 May.> [[as it appeared on CBS This Morning and its subsidiary stations]]
Just as the literal wording of the earlier “Here’s Mud in your eye!,” upon which the ‘kiwi’ version is fashioned, makes no sense, neither does the ‘kiwi’ rendering. Authors have come up with so many different versions of the etymology of “Here’s mud in your eye!” that it cannot be labeled as anything but “origin uncertain.”

Here’s a quote from an old Wordwizard posting which is an amalgam from respectable sources that discusses just two of the many possibilities offered from the sources listed in Here’s mud in your Eye! (see 4th posting from the top for discussion and references.)

This type of irony is akin to the theatrical term “Break a leg” where the meaning of the phrase is the opposite of what one would expect from the actual words.

After a good bit of searching (and I checked several other archives inaccessible to Google), I think I can safely conclude that Here’s kiwi in your eye! won’t win any popularity contests and indeed was actually born on that last episode of Cheers.

As for a catchy list of quotes, I’ll forgo that tradition since I can’t find any. (>:)
______________________

Ken –June 11, 2014 (and for something more useful wiki is an anagram of kiwi)



.
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Re: Here's kiwi in your eye

Post by Neil Shaddick » Tue Jun 17, 2014 8:56 am

Well that turned out to be a dead-end but thanks for the clarification. Yes, it is indeed a 'take' on "mud in your eye" (another very good WW thread) but we might have to wait a century or more of intense kiwi-fruit blending for it to move from a screen writer's squib to a bona fide figurative expression. No doubt the greatest screen writer of them all little expected his 'quips and cranks' to form so many English expressions still in use. There are innumerable websites on that. One that I only picked up recently, largely because I thought it was something only people of my grandmother's generation said, is from that hit series of four hundred years ago The History of Henrie The Fourth. When we kids got into her biscuit barrel she'd warn - 'that's enough biscuits, you'll eat me out of house and home' (circa 1965) If only she'd known she was quoting Henry IV pt. 2 ii. i. 75 ('Al I haue, he hath eaten me out of house and home' - circa 1600) she'd have been so impressed. But I guess the point I'm making is more to do with the fact that Cheers seems to have bypassed some learned contributors here ('no catchy list of quotes'). I'm usually not one to defend the cultural importance of US mainstream TV, but Cheers really is the exception. Even a former editor of the stuffy London Times, William Rees Mogg, once sang its praises. Germinating in that liberal mulch of those 270 episodes are some of the most commonly recognisable expressions of AD 2414 (though I admit 'kiwi in your eye' isn't one of them) Furthermore, and I hate to say it, but the same will be true of The Simpsons . . .
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Re: Here's kiwi in your eye

Post by Bobinwales » Tue Jun 17, 2014 9:42 am

Well Neil, when everyone is saying, "Here's kiwi in your eye", you can tell people that you were in on the start and can quote this thread when the Oxford English Dictionaries are looking for early citations!

Come to think of it, I wonder if they do have a butchers at us when they are doing their research!
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Re: Here's kiwi in your eye

Post by Erik_Kowal » Tue Jun 17, 2014 10:43 am

I wonder which expressions from AD 2414 will make the cut for posterity...
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Re: Here's kiwi in your eye

Post by Neil Shaddick » Tue Jun 17, 2014 11:59 am

Well no one can say, Erik: Bob (thanks) - you say 'have a butchers' which is Cockney rhyming slang have a butcher's hook = have a look. But here in NZ that same expression metamorphosised into 'go butcher's hook or crook' = get really angry. Don't get crook, get even. Say what? I know. Doesn't make any sense. Following the same (il)logic, that tag for Cheers ("where everybody knows your name") will become the nostalgic greetings humans born on other planets will say to each other when they meet for the first time and talk about Earth.
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Re: Here's kiwi in your eye

Post by Wizard of Oz » Wed Jun 18, 2014 2:47 am

.. the real problem I have with this expression, Here's kiwi in your eye, is that it makes absolutely no sense to anybody downunder .. we would never call a kiwifruit simply a kiwi .. so to us the implication is that somehow you are hoping that a kiwi, the bird genus Apteryx and family Apterygidae, jumps into the person's eye .. or that a New Zealander, colloquially a Kiwi, gets in your eye .. now I do know of them getting in your face over such things as their beloved All Blacks .. but not specifically one's eye ..

.. it is interesting to note that Here's kiwi in your eye is a snowcone of the original Here's mud in your eye ..

WoZ who prefers a Kiwi in the mud
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Signature: "The question is," said Alice, "whether you can make words mean so many different things."

Re: Here's kiwi in your eye

Post by Neil Shaddick » Thu Jun 19, 2014 1:26 am

Hey WoZ, Is that the mud of Porto Alegre?
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Re: Here's kiwi in your eye

Post by Phil White » Sat Jun 21, 2014 10:12 pm

Am I the only one who finds this thread somewhat bizarre?

It was a clever, witty twist on an idiom. A throwaway joke. An "I wish I had said that" moment. It was not the birth and premature death of an idiom. Clever scriptwriters and comedians do it all the time.

When did the idiom "our trains of thought stop at the same stations" come into being?

The answer is 1998. The person who first used it was my annoyingly witty business partner.

Not every unfamiliar combination of words is an idiom. Some are merely wit.

Yes, I am grouchy today.
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Non sum felix lepus

Re: Here's kiwi in your eye

Post by Wizard of Oz » Wed Jun 25, 2014 2:24 am

.. it does seem that our round ball roos got a whole heap of mud in their eyes in Brazil .. but they make up the number .. a little like when the US Eagles make the cut for the Rugby World Cup .. they play hard and deliver a few good moments and the odd scare but they are not real contenders unlike their soccer team ..

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

End of topic.
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