S Is For Succotash, So Sayeth I

Screen Shot 2016-03-21 at 11.01.38 AMSufferin’ Succotash

… is what Sylvester the Cat says when confronted with yet another dilemma.  Sylvester James Pussycat, Sr., is a Looney Tunes star who almost always fails at what he’s trying to achieve.

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But did you know that his famous saying, “sufferin’ succotash,” is an example of a minced oath?

A minced oath is a term that refers to a word or phrase modified from rude, crude &/or blasphemous to a more benign saying that does not offend, but still imparts the same message.

For instance, when you say darn it to heck, that is a minced oath of damn it to hell.  When you say egads [and you do say egads, right?], that is a minced oath of oh god.

And when you say sufferin’ succotash, that is a minced oath of suffering savior, which at one time was vile thing to say.

[… and you doubted the value of a liberal arts education!  How else would I know something this obscure, yet arguably, interesting?  Hmmm?]

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Ally Bean

Observant. Creative. Humorous. Adaptable. Happy enough. Midwestern by chance. Kindhearted most days.

46 thoughts on “S Is For Succotash, So Sayeth I”

      1. I thought she made it up herself- because I’ve never heard any one else use it. But then, I checked your link on minced oath and I see the term ‘Fink it’ which is very similar.

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  1. I like my oaths full-strength. It’s one of my Guilty Pleasures. I also like succotash very much, since I have had a love affair with The Lima Bean my whole life.

    Now, mince? If we’re talking pie…? No. No Thank You.

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    1. nance, I can understand your need to speak more directly. But then you aren’t a world famous pussy cat who must not offend the delicate sensibilities of people everywhere. I like lima beans, too. Maybe I’ll make succotash this weekend, too.

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  2. I used to call drivers on the road “Sister Sledge” – this was when I was responsible for getting my kids to school – so many idiots out on the road, so that expression was used quite frequently, for example “Sister Sledge, get off your stupid cell phone and pay attention to the cars around you.” I am not sure if this is a minced oath, but what I really wanted to say was……

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      1. Me too, like asking people if they are waiting for a formal invitation when I am letting them into the traffic before me and they just sit there and stare at me?

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    1. Zazzy, I only knew about Sylvester because I took a English Lit class in which the prof used sufferin’ succotash as a modern day example of oaths, minced.

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  3. Hmmm, when you first started this blog challenge I thought, cool, we are going to see a bunch of images about food and maybe a recipe or two, but no, you had to start sneaking in all this *gasp* learning. It is beginning to seem like you have been secretly serving me the kind of pasta made with hidden vegetables all this time (which by the way, you are not to tell my children about).

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    1. Allie P, I didn’t explain well what I was going to do in this challenge, so I’m not surprised that you thought I’d be all about recipes & such. I’ve kept a food saying + info file for a couple of years, so this seemed like the time to share my “learning” + some “babbling.” Also, rest assured, your veggie-laced pasta secret is safe with me. 😉

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  4. You have been educating the heck out of me this month! That is fascinating. I love the term “minced oath” which also sounds like it would fit into your food-related theme.

    I think Tina Fey is the queen of minced oaths.

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    1. I.L. Wolf, excellent point about Tina Fey. I hadn’t thought of that, but true. I imagine lots of Looney Tunes cartoons are full of minced oaths that floated over our heads when we were kids.

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    1. Sarah, it might be. I don’t know. I suspect that lots of things we say when not swearing by almost swearing are, in fact, a minced oath. There’s probably a dissertation to be written on this topic… but not by me!

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  5. I’m late to the party and everyone got all good stuff in their comments! Sufferin’ Succotash…
    I miss the old-school cartoon time fun. My kids are stuck with Barney, Teletubbies, and spongebob…which has been scientifically proven to make one dumbererer. Exit cable and enter crafty/paint replacement program.

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    1. bitsfromheaven, I thought it was just me who found more modern cartoons to be insipid! The old Looney Tunes ones has so many layers of meaning– and the characters had attitude, instead of platitudes.

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  6. I love how it comes out “thufferin’ thuccotash!” when Sylvester says it.

    By the way, lima beans are high in manganese, one of those trace elements that make life worth living. Learned that in my first A to Z…

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    1. John, I think that Sylvester has charmed everyone over the years. Seems like we all know how he says what he says, and it makes us smile. Didn’t know that fact about lima beans, but I do like them… so bring on the manganese!

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  7. I did not know that was a minced oath, and yet, I use them all the time! Oh my heck. Thank tacos. For the love of puppies. Thank you for this information 🙂
    Succotash sounds good right about now, by the by.

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  8. I didn’t know any of that! Very interesting information! I’m learning a lot through your blog challenge, and realizing my own ignorance. 🙂

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    1. Margaret, I’m glad that you’re learning but I certainly did not do this challenge as a way to make you feel ignorant! We all know different odds and ends of things, and this challenge is the place to put those odds and ends.

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  9. You have contributed mightily to my education today … oh my, from minced oaths to suffering saviour and I had no idea succotash was made with lima beans!! Now I’m going to have to look up a recipe!

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    1. joanne, sometimes I do know the strangest things. Think of it this way, should you ever be on Jeopardy and a category entitled “Succotash” appears on the board, you’re ready to win it all! 🙂

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