give someone down the road

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Paulfromitaly

MODerator
Italian
Hello guys,

An American couple is having a bad row. The wife really drives the husband up the wall, so he can't help being really heavy on her. After a little while he just leaves the house and heads to work, even though it's early morning.
A few hours later she gives him a call and says:

You really gave me down the road today!

Does it mean "you treated me really badly"?

Thanks.
 
  • Paulfromitaly

    MODerator
    Italian
    The first thing I thought when I heard it was "it makes no sense", but then I found a few examples on google..

    I got sunburned and my doctor 'gave me down the road' for about 30 minutes

    ...the lady gave me down the road and would not allow me to do it


    One of the nurses gave me down-the-road about the cheap gloves they have to use for the dilation exams


    my Mom gave me down the road for flirting with a cousin so distant that we might as well not even been related


    Maybe it's a missworded idiom?
     

    Franzi

    Senior Member
    (San Francisco) English
    Maybe it's a missworded idiom?
    It could also be old-fashioned or only used in one small region. Please tell us where you originally saw it. Who are those people? Were they characters in a book? A movie? Were they your friends who you overheard? How old are they? What era was the book written in or the movie made in? You say they're American, but do you know what part of the US they're from?

    There's no mention of what "gave me down the road" actually means, but it does appear in this Wordie list of Appalachian terms: http://wordie.org/lists/appalachian-colloquial-interpretations

    This site mentions that it's slang from North Carolina for "to give someone a hard time" (which is consistent with the original context you were asking about): http://www.greenspun.com/bboard/q-and-a-fetch-msg.tcl?msg_id=008fxB
     
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    Paulfromitaly

    MODerator
    Italian
    It could also be old-fashioned or only used in one small region. Please tell us where you originally saw it. Who are those people? Were they characters in a book? A movie? Were they your friends who you overheard? How old are they? What era was the book written in or the movie made in? You say they're American, but do you know what part of the US they're from?
    It's a story a wannabe writer sent to a publisher.
    The writer is American and so is the couple.
    They live in the Mid-west.
    That's all I know :)
    As you can see, in those few examples I found on Google the expression is used in the same way: could it mean "to tell off" ?
    Thanks for the links!
     

    Franzi

    Senior Member
    (San Francisco) English
    They live in the Mid-west. [...] As you can see, in those few examples I found on Google the expression is used in the same way: could it mean "to tell off"?
    It looks to me like it normally means "to give someone a hard time". If you tell someone off, you're usually yelling at them angrily. It sounds like giving someone "down the road" is more like a lecture, nagging, pestering, etc. (or maybe it covers a spectrum from angry yelling to irritated nagging).

    It looks like it's used in Southern AE and perhaps Midwestern as well. I haven't heard it on the coasts, so perhaps that's why it's unfamiliar to many posters here (including me).
     

    ewie

    Senior Member
    English English
    Never heard of it, Paul.

    BUT

    My Cassell Dictionary of Slang gives the following:

    give someone down the banks phr. [1960s+] (Irish) to scold, to reprimand [ety.unknown]
    give someone down the country/river phr. [19C+] (US) to scold, to tell off, to reprimand [ety.unknown]

    which look like pretty close relatives to me:)
     

    Paulfromitaly

    MODerator
    Italian
    Cool :)
    It may as well be a variation from the original then.
    Oddly enough, no Brits seem to have ever heard of it, despite the Irish origin of "give someone down the banks".
     

    Nunty

    Senior Member
    Hebrew-US English (bilingual)
    I've never heard or read it, but it has the ring of one of those cutesie eumphemisms like "he gave me hello operator". I can't think of what "down the road" is supposed to sound like, but hell is traditionally "down there", isn't it? Your would-be writer might want to switch to a more commonly understood phrase... :)
     

    Cypherpunk

    Senior Member
    US, English
    I live in, and I have traveled extensively throughout, the South, and I've also read a lot of literature by Southern authors, and I've never heard that expression. If it's from the Carolinas, it's a very regional thing, and its use has not spread.

    BTW, PaulfromItaly, American couples don't have rows, British couples do. We also aren't usually heavy on each other, but we might frequently be hard on each other.
     

    kalamazoo

    Senior Member
    US, English
    I'm from California and have lived in the East, Midwest and even in the South (the most northern part) and have never heard or heard of any of these expressions (down the road, down the banks etc). So I don't think they would necessarily be commonly understood. However, in the context, I guess I would deduce that she means "you really gave me a hard time today" but not because I understood the exact phrase that she was using.
     

    teirra1

    New Member
    English
    I am from Kentucky and have heard this expression many, many times. It means to give someone a hard time;to cuss them or ball them out.
    Examples: "He told me I needed to be home before dinner and I gave him down the road."
    "She told me I needed to mind my own business and gave me down the road for twenty minutes. She called me everything but a milk cow.
    It's kind of funny now that I think about it. I'm so use to hearing it, I never really gave it much thought but it doesn't really make a lot of since but yes that is how the phrase is properly used.
     

    Paulfromitaly

    MODerator
    Italian
    I am from Kentucky and have heard this expression many, many times. It means to give someone a hard time;to cuss them or ball them out.
    Examples: "He told me I needed to be home before dinner and I gave him down the road."
    "She told me I needed to mind my own business and gave me down the road for twenty minutes. She called me everything but a milk cow.
    It's kind of funny now that I think about it. I'm so use to hearing it, I never really gave it much thought but it doesn't really make a lot of since but yes that is how the phrase is properly used.
    Thank you :)
     

    Lee B

    New Member
    English - United States of America
    Hello guys,

    An American couple is having a bad row. The wife really drives the husband up the wall, so he can't help being really heavy on her. After a little while he just leaves the house and heads to work, even though it's early morning.
    A few hours later she gives him a call and says:

    You really gave me down the road today!

    Does it mean "you treated me really badly"?

    Thanks.
    Thank you :)
    I am reading To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee and just came across this sentence in chapter 21, right after Calpunia had scolded Jem (or as I would say it – given him "what for") on the way home from the trial:

    "So many things had happened so fast I felt it would take years to sort them out, and now here was Calpurnia giving her precious Jem down the country – what new marvels would the evening bring?"
     

    Gignacio

    New Member
    English USA
    I just heard this saying from a family who recently moved into my area (northern Midwest) from Virginia. No one here has known what it meant - except by context - like giving me a hard time. Thanks Tierra 1.
     

    Annacrome

    New Member
    English - American
    It looks to me like it normally means "to give someone a hard time". If you tell someone off, you're usually yelling at them angrily. It sounds like giving someone "down the road" is more like a lecture, nagging, pestering, etc. (or maybe it covers a spectrum from angry yelling to irritated nagging).

    It looks like it's used in Southern AE and perhaps Midwestern as well. I haven't heard it on the coasts, so perhaps that's why it's unfamiliar to many posters here (including me).
    I am a native East Tennesseean and I have heard this expression all of my life. It does mean to "give someone a hard time." It can also mean to belittle or berate a person behind his or her back. (Ex: "Your ex-wife sure was givin' you down the road, yesterday. Never heard that woman rant and rave so much, before.")
     
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