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When you say 'uncle', why do you say uncle?


Randomguy
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I never thought about it.  A quick Google search found:

Why do we say “uncle” when admitting defeat? The only facts we know for sure are that it’s strictly a North American phrase, and that it first appeared in written English in 1918. After that, opinions split on to how the custom developed. The Oxford English Dictionary mentions that it may be a variation of the Irish word anacol, which means protection or safety.

A more plausible explanation, though, dates back to the days of the Roman Empire. When young children of that era were attacked by bullies, they wouldn’t be set free until they uttered "Patrue, mi Patruissimo," or "Uncle, my best Uncle." At that time, the brother of one’s father was accorded almost the same level of status and power as one’s dad, so declaring the bully to be your “Best Uncle” was tantamount to granting him a title of respect.

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9 minutes ago, MickinMD said:

I never thought about it.  A quick Google search found:

Why do we say “uncle” when admitting defeat? The only facts we know for sure are that it’s strictly a North American phrase, and that it first appeared in written English in 1918. After that, opinions split on to how the custom developed. The Oxford English Dictionary mentions that it may be a variation of the Irish word anacol, which means protection or safety.

A more plausible explanation, though, dates back to the days of the Roman Empire. When young children of that era were attacked by bullies, they wouldn’t be set free until they uttered "Patrue, mi Patruissimo," or "Uncle, my best Uncle." At that time, the brother of one’s father was accorded almost the same level of status and power as one’s dad, so declaring the bully to be your “Best Uncle” was tantamount to granting him a title of respect.

Honest, I have never heard the slang used in that way. Not up here where I've lived.  I dunno. I wonder if it's my social circles..or it's more American idiom.   Chat over wide range of topics, sometimes distressing to speaker-good friend is in :frantics: either  pretty clean pure or plain English...I'm the one and another friend who might occasionally fling around curses in anger. 

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49 minutes ago, shootingstar said:

Honest, I have never heard the slang used in that way. Not up here where I've lived.  I dunno. I wonder if it's my social circles..or it's more American idiom.   Chat over wide range of topics, sometimes distressing to speaker-good friend is in :frantics: either  pretty clean pure or plain English...I'm the one and another friend who might occasionally fling around curses in anger. 

You are the oldest & never got atomic wedgies or put in a head lock by an older sibling.

I never said uncle when getting my ass beat by my older brother. I knew he wouldn’t kill me and would have to explain any visible injuries to my parents so never gave in to the beatings, wedgies & such.  Took a hell of a lot of body shots as a kid though.

 

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12 hours ago, shootingstar said:

Honest, I have never heard the slang used in that way. Not up here where I've lived.  I dunno. I wonder if it's my social circles..or it's more American idiom.   Chat over wide range of topics, sometimes distressing to speaker-good friend is in :frantics: either  pretty clean pure or plain English...I'm the one and another friend who might occasionally fling around curses in anger. 

Well, you didn't grow up in a family of boys where roughhousing would normally lead to that.  It has been around a very long time and is used by much of the English speaking world.  I suspect you just didn't have the opportunity of exposure to it. 

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1 hour ago, Oppressed Pig said:

Well, you didn't grow up in a family of boys where roughhousing would normally lead to that.  It has been around a very long time and is used by much of the English speaking world.  I suspect you just didn't have the opportunity of exposure to it. 

No loss to  me, Wilbur.

I probably know  "common" things/ words that others here, don't know.

I'm willing to bet my sister with 2 boys and 1 girl, where I did see enough play fighting, that their children  (now adults) don't know either.  Her hubby is also born in Canada, like sis and myself. Her hubby had a brother who died few yrs. ago. 

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5 minutes ago, shootingstar said:

No loss to  me, Wilbur.

I probably know  "common" things/ words that others here, don't know.

I'm willing to bet my sister with 2 boys and 1 girl, where I did see enough play fighting, that their children  (now adults) don't know either.  Her hubby is also born in Canada, like sis and myself. Her hubby had a brother who died few yrs. ago. 

I never said it was a loss.  Just not in your cultural circle.  You are older than me so it isn't generational. I have heard it all across this nation so it isn't geographic.  It was very common in the days of my youth and that of my fathers. 

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1 hour ago, Oppressed Pig said:

I never said it was a loss.  Just not in your cultural circle.  You are older than me so it isn't generational. I have heard it all across this nation so it isn't geographic.  It was very common in the days of my youth and that of my fathers. 

Yeah I find it interesting that our immigrant backgrounds are very similar yet I was exposed to more common slang & vernacular than Shootie.  

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