I smokes 'em all out

enkidu68

Senior Member
turkish
Hi folks, this is cited from Redburn by Hermann Melville (1849)*
Question: “Does I smokes 'em all out” mean that I kill them or only keep them away?



"He, he, my boy," then said he--"I don't never have any bugs here, I tell ye: I smokes 'em all out every night before going to bed."
 
  • Chez

    Senior Member
    English English
    I think 'smoking out' bugs generally makes them run away because, if they don't escape in time, it will kill them.
     

    sdgraham

    Senior Member
    USA English
    The expression is in our dictionary:
    smoke out:
    • to drive from a place of hiding by the use of smoke:[~ + out + object]to smoke out the raccoons.[~ + object + out]to smoke the animals out.
    • to force into public knowledge;
      expose:[~ + out + object]to smoke out the traitors.[~ + object + out]to smoke the traitors out with a clever trick.
     

    much_rice

    Senior Member
    English - American
    I think it's meant partly as a joke. Does the speaker smoke a lot of tobacco, either with a pipe or as cigarettes or cigars? "Smoking out" bugs is definitely a way to get rid of them, but you would normally use woodsmoke. The speaker, though, seems to be a heavy smoker and he jokes that this is his way of keeping bugs out of his dwelling.

    By the way, "I smokes 'em all out" is a dialect way of saying "I smoke them all out."
     
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