gnash it all

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möglich

Senior Member
français
Hello, it comes from "the exploits of Engelbrecht" by Maurice Richardson, a book telling the adventures of surrealist sportsmen.
In this excerpt, there is a discussion about the addition of a new member (a mechanical brain) to their club, and one of the members is opposed to it :
"Charlie Wapentake, surfacing after a marathon puff at this multiple hubble-bubble, opines sagely : "Gnash it all, I mean to say, what, he's going to take up the deuce of a lot of room, eh? They say he occupies three floors of the Town Hall.""
Can someone please explain to me this expression ? Thanks.
 
  • Biffo

    Senior Member
    English - England
    Perhaps you could say who or what Charlie Wapentake is. It might help.

    My thoughts are as follows:

    "Damn it all!" an oath
    "Dash it all!" a euphemistic version of "Damn it all!" (quite common in the early 20th century)
    "Gnash it all!" an unusual version of "Dash it all!" (Perhaps invented by the author of the book)

    _____________________________________________________
    Googlw ngram shows relative frequencies of Damn it all and Dash it all
    http://books.google.com/ngrams/grap...00&year_end=2000&corpus=15&smoothing=3&share=
     
    Last edited:

    JustKate

    Senior Member
    I don't think it's really an expression - certainly I've never heard it. I think it is instead a play on the much more common expression "Dash it all," which basically means "darn it" or "damn it." "Dash it all" is BE, and I speak AmE, so if I've defined it incorrectly I hope an BE speaker will correct me. The rest of the sentence is written in what I would call stereotypical BE, so I am sure "Gnash it all" is deliberately intended to sound like "Dash it all." Without knowing more about the book and its characters, I can't say why the author would replace "dash" with "gnash."
     

    heypresto

    Senior Member
    English - England
    The usual expression would be 'Dash it all!' which is a meaningless exclamation used in outburts of mild anger. I've never seen or heard this variation - it may be the invention of Richardson, or it may have existed in bygone days, I don't know . . .

    Cross-posted
     

    frenchifried

    Senior Member
    English - UK/US
    I agree with Biffo, heypresto and Just Kate. It's an invention, but also a sort of play on words - gnash it all (the gnashing of teeth) - to hell with it all!

    I'm looking forward to reading this when I find it.:)
     
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