“… And the horse you rode in on”

This morning during that time between asleep and awake, some scenario was playing out in my semi-conscious which included the phrase “screw you and the horse you rode in on”.

I remember my father using that phrase, and yes back in those innocent times the word was ‘screw’ not ‘fuck’, tho research has revealed that even back in those days fuck was used, but not by my father. So off to Google the origin of the phrase and it was enlightening and fun.

First, the meaning. “It’s basically a way of saying screw you while commenting on how entitled or arrogant the person is” (Scott M. Stolz, Entrepreneur, Educator, Author).

More fun, all the discussions of this phrase reference an article by William Safire back in 1998, the best part being “One Editor Michael Seidman recalls hearing the phrase while growing up in the Bronx in the 1950s. He remembers hearing people say, “…and the white horse you rode in on and all your relatives in Brooklyn.”

Now that makes perfect sense to me since we were living in the Bronx back in the 1950’s and that’s where my father was born and grew up, in the shadow of Yankee Stadium. I don’t remember him using the Brooklyn reference but still when I read that, I just had to laugh – so something my father would say.

Back in the old days New Yorkers were very provincial, very protective of the borough they called home. You weren’t from New York City you were from Brooklyn or Queens or The Bronx or Staten Island. People who lived in Manhattan lived in ‘the city’ and us other borough people would refer to Manhattan as such. If you worked in Manhattan you worked in ‘the city’.

I wrote an extensive essay about how we NY’ers view ourselves and our city, if you want the backstory you can read it here.

For many years I was physically ill from homesickness for New York City, I’ve gotten over that but NYC is totally who and what I am. So many things that people find odd or strange about me are just things that are New York – no big deal and common as dirt for those of us who come from there.

I’m going to do something dangerous here and assume y’all have heard this phrase before. If you haven’t let me know, and share some phrase that you feel is native to where you come from.

9 thoughts on ““… And the horse you rode in on”

  1. Y’all? That’s a little southern NYC isn’t it? Lol! I remember the post about the different boroughs in NYC. It’s very interesting to me! We just lived in the town or country in Kansas. One saying I remember from there was ‘Oh for cryin out loud’. My aunt always said ‘gosh durn it’ too.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Well I am from the south Bronx…Hate to tell ya this babe but ‘oh for crying out loud’ is not a regionalism – everybody says that…it’s akin to ‘Oh for Pete’s sake” – tho I often wonder who the hell Pete is…


  2. I’ve never beard the phrase, “as common as dirty before. One phrase native to south Georgia is “drunk as Cooter Brown”. I have no idea who this Mr Brown is, but he is forever immortalized as a drunkard. At least in Georgia that is.😊

    Liked by 1 person

    1. ‘common as dirt’ just came to me while I was typing, it’s not the phrase this post is about…I just looked up ‘common as dirt’ and it doesn’t mean what I meant – so everything is a learning experience. I meant that that a lot of things that other folks find strange about NYC are just ordinary, every day things for us. Southernisms are fabulous, so descriptive – ‘If I’m lying, I’m flying and my mama weren’t no blackbird’ ‘Thief? – why he could steal the inside of a biscuit without breaking the crust’ ‘I don’t know him from Dick’s hatband’ and so on….


  3. Yes, I have heard the phrase before and I think the person I recall hearing it from the most was my brother. I know there are plenyt of phrases I’ve heard over the years that have sort of disappeared but none of them are coming to mind now. I like looking them up and finding out how they started and what the original meaning was

    Liked by 2 people

    1. A lot of descriptive phrases have disappeared because the references have disappeared. And then there are so many we just use without thinking why – like ‘under the weather’ or ‘sick as a dog’. I too Google them when it occurs to me…


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