Rode Hard and Put Away Wet
Historical Reference: The exact origins of this phrase are uncertain, but it most likely originated in the American South. Use of the past form of a verb as a past participle (‘been rode’ rather than ‘been ridden’) points to the South’s linguistic connection to Scotland.
Example: After digging ditches all day, Henry looks like he’s been rode hard and put away wet.
|A ruckus is a noisy commotion.|
Historical Reference: The “Cherokee Advocate,” an Oklahoma newspaper, included a variant spelling in the February 24th, 1882 edition: “It is but right that they should know how the matter stands, and have fair warning to avoid a ‘pending’ rucus of some sort.”
Note: Other spellings (rookus, rukus and rucus) may hint at the way this word was pronounced in various parts of America.
Ruckus is an American term with uncertain origins. The word most likely evolved from blending ‘rumpus’ (a playful commotion) and ‘ruction’ (a disorderly tumult), but other theories exist. Ruckus may have derived from ‘rook,’ a Scottish word for a quarrel or uproar that dates from at least 1808. Another idea is that ‘ruck,’ a British rugby play, birthed ‘ruckus.’
What in the Sam Hill…
|Sam Hill's Stonehenge Memorial, Image by Janalyn Voigt|
Substituting ‘Sam Hill’ for a four-letter word beginning with ‘h,’ this phrase has various endings: "…just happened?”; “…do you think you’re doing?”; and so forth. This idiom was used more in the 1800s than today, but it is still known, and I couldn’t resist including it.
Historical Reference: According to the Oxford English Dictionary, on Aug. 1, 1839, the Havana, New York, Republican newspaper carried this line: "What in sam hill is that feller ballin' about?" This is the first known print citation for our phrase.
The Sam Hill I discovered in my travels is only one of the characters recognized (or blamed, as the case may be) for the saying in question. Let me explain why I can’t imagine it originating with anyone else.
Arguably the oddest of Sam Hill’s projects is the miniature Stonehenge replica he erected a short distance from Maryhill. It still stands. That's right. You can come to Washington state and see Stonehenge, at least in miniature. Visiting the memorial can be a windy prospect but well worth the trouble. I found the experience moving. Sam Hill built his Stonehenge to commemorate the brave souls who lost their lives in World War I. He also meant it to protest war in general. But, why Stonehenge?
We can’t speak of the curiosities Sam Hill introduced to a puzzled world without mentioning that he also built the Cascade Highway. This feat of construction benefited farmers in particular. It removed from them the burden of navigating their carts along muddy roads. Not too shabby for a misunderstood man people laughed at. At the Stonehenge Memorial, if you look down the hill to the banks of the Columbia, you'll notice a farm. Modern irrigation practices have made Sam Hill's dream possible. Perhaps it is justice that ‘What in the Sam Hill…’ is fading into memory.
Question for You
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Cheyenne SunriseCan a woman with no faith in men learn to trust the half-Cheyenne trail guide determined to protect her?
Based on actual historical events during a time of unrest in America, Cheyenne Sunrise explores faith, love, and courage in the Wild West.