willy off the pickle boat

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willy off the pickle boat

Post by Archived Topic » Thu Feb 12, 2004 10:22 am

What is the origin of this phrase. I have found variants - Johnny and Annie, and even a reference to a children's song title, "Little charlie just off..." And why pickle boat?
Submitted by William Burke (Melbourne - U.S.A.)
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willy off the pickle boat

Post by Archived Reply » Thu Feb 12, 2004 10:37 am

I couldn't stand seeing this query unanswered, so the following is my essay at enlightening the inquirer.

From Websters Revised Unabridged Dictionary 1913, page 93 comes the following:

... befool; to beguile; to infatuate. [Obs.] Some ecstasy assotted had his sense. Spenser. Assot (As*sot"), a. Dazed; foolish; infatuated. [Obs.] Willie, I ween thou be assot. Spenser. Assuage (As*suage") v. t. [imp. & p. p. Assuaged; p. pr. & vb. n. Assuaging ] [OE. asuagen, aswagen, ...

From thence I speculate that it means something to the effect that the person to whom it is addressed "fell off the turnip wagon this morning." Or was born yesterday and hadn't a clue about anything.

I am assuming that "pickle boat" is a imaginary boat as I have never heard of a boat devoted to pickles alone. But, Hey! Who really knows. Probably gets government subsidies.
Reply from Leif Thorvaldson (Eatonville - U.S.A.)
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willy off the pickle boat

Post by Archived Reply » Thu Feb 12, 2004 10:51 am

Julie Morris writes in "The Port Huron to Mackinac race," The Detroit News
"The last boat to finish the race is called the 'pickle boat.' The origin of the name comes from English yachting, where the last boat was called the 'fisher.' The boats used to stop to fish for herring and then pickle them, thus 'pickled herring.' The pickling required the boat to take even longer to come into port."

AmeriSpeak: expressions of our American ancestors says:
"THEY SAID: I look like Annie off the pickle boat.
"WE SAY: I'm really a mess."

"At the Big Ten Conference Media Day last August, a wide-eyed Walker stepped up to the podium in front of a room of 300 reporters and said he felt a little 'like Johnny off the pickle boat.'
"The newcomer will find himself stepping off whatever a pickle boat is and into a battle this weekend as his team takes on the No. 11 Badgers in Evanston on Saturday."
(Mary Motzko, " Football: Walker steps right off the pickle boat," The Badger Herald Online, Oct. 27, 1999)

Reply from Susumu Enomoto (Shiraokamachi - Japan)
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