use your loaf

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use your loaf

Post by Archived Topic » Thu Jun 10, 2004 4:34 am

Loaf can mean a large shaped bread,or to hang around in an idle manner. I wonder how it also came to be used for ones mind or head? Maybe bread was head shaped at some time.
Submitted by Melvyn Goodman (London - England)
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use your loaf

Post by Archived Reply » Thu Jun 10, 2004 4:49 am

Melvyn, Looks like it comes from rhyming slang.
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Cassell’s Dictionary of Slang

LOAF noun [1910’s+] a head, especially brains, intelligence; thus USE ONE’S LOAF, to act sensibly, often as imperative. USE YOUR LOAF! [rhyming slang ‘loaf of bread]
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I guess they’re saying the loaf derived from the idea that ‘use your head’ rhymes with ‘loaf of bread
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Ken G - April 18, 2002
Reply from Ken Greenwald (Fort Collins, CO - U.S.A.)
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use your loaf

Post by Archived Reply » Thu Jun 10, 2004 5:03 am

It's very typical of rhyming slang to drop the rhyming element, leaving those outside the circle of comprehension scratching their heads. I could set out many examples, but will give just these two:

"Take a butcher's at that! Phwooar!" = "Look at that [young woman]! What an impressive figure!" Full rhyming phrase: "Butcher's hook", to rhyme with "look".

"I'm absolutely boracic, what have you got?" = "I'm completely broke, what money do you have?" Full rhyming phrase: "Boracic lint", to rhyme with "skint", i.e. "broke".
Reply from Erik Kowal ( - England)
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use your loaf

Post by Archived Reply » Thu Jun 10, 2004 5:17 am

see abbot & costello's baker's assistant routine when asked
what he does at the bakery , abbot says he's the loafer.
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use your loaf

Post by Archived Reply » Thu Jun 10, 2004 5:32 am

Thanks. I should have realised it was rhyming slang. My trouble and strife says I should use my loaf of bread as well as my apple pies, and not keep running up the apples and pears looking for something thats already in my lucy locket.
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use your loaf

Post by Archived Reply » Thu Jun 10, 2004 5:46 am

Oxford English Dictonary

LOAF: Slang [probably from from loaf of bread, rhyming slang for ‘head’.] The (human) head; hence, the mind, common sense; especially in phrase to use one's loaf.
<1925 “LOAF, head, e.g., ‘Duck your LOAF—i.e., keep your head below the parapet’.”—‘Soldier & Sailor Words’ by Fraser & Gibbons, page 145>

<1938 “Bloody seconds counted in a job like this. You certainly had to USE YOUR LOAF.”—‘They Drive by Night’ by J. Curtis, xiv. page 155>

<1943 “USE YOUR LOAF is the injunction often heard when someone is particularly slow in following orders. But this phrase, in its finer meanings, says: ‘Use your common sense. Interpret orders according to the situation as you find it, and don't follow the book of words too literally.’”–‘Service Slang’ by Hunt & Pringle, page 44>

<1957 “He USES HIS LOAF where you and I just muddle along.”—‘Bridge’ by P. Franku, page 73>

<1971 “You want to USE YOUR bloody LOAF, Stubbs, or we'll never win this war the way you're carrying on.”—‘Soldier Erect’ by B. W. Adliss, page 79>
Ken G – January 4, 2006
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