Saturday, August 04, 2007

baby got bell

From NYT magazine story about anti-immigrant sentiment in an Illinois town:
A lot of my constituents have brought the question to me: What is he hiding?” Sigwalt told me. “I don’t want to get my butt in a ringer, but I wonder what ICE” — the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency — “would find if they went in there.”
Do the NYT copyeditors really not know the word "wringer"? Anyway, "butt in a wringer" is definitely one of those phrases from back in my hometown that I seem not to hear much around Harvard. But what would "butt in a ringer" mean?

11 comments:

Anonymous said...

i've heard of 'butt in a sling' but never in a wringer (or ringer).

Dan Myers said...

Google: "butt in a ringer" 185 hits
"butt in a wringer" 170 hits

Yahoo: "butt in a ringer" 20 hits
"butt in a wringer" 26 hits

jeremy said...

I think the sling is the sequela to the wringer. Dan's statistics show how confused the nation is regarding the ringer possibility. It's like how people think that "pleased as punch" somehow refers to punch-as-in-Hawaiian-punch as opposed to punch-as-in-swazzle-punch.

kate said...

I believe the "wringer" refers to the old fashioned wringer washer. You wouldn't want you butt (or other parts) to be wrung through one of those.

Anonymous said...

yes, as in being "put through the wringer"

Anonymous said...

Coming from St. Louis, butt in the wringer, or actually the mild swear in the wringer, is a quite common expression.

That's a good article by the way.

Brock20

jeremy said...

Yes, I thought it was a good article, too.

Dan Myers said...

Although I know it's not accurate or shared by anyone else, I have long preferred to think of "beat me to the punch" as meaning "beat me to the punch bowl" (as if to spike it or get some of the spiked stuff!).

Anonymous said...

It was more common than one would care to think for people to get things caught in the wringer of the washing machine, thus mangling body parts.

Not being one of the gang, I don't get the literature, so I have to ask: Is their a section at ASA on cultural clashes over bathroom ettique?

Brock20

Midwest Reader said...

Did John Mitchell of Watergate fame threaten Kay Graham of the Washington Post about getting one of [slang for breast] caught in wringer?

jeremy said...

MR: Google says Yes